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put on - definition and synonyms


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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



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phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theyput on
he/she/itputs on
present participleputting on
past tenseput on
past participleput on
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  1. 1
    to cover a part of your body with a piece of clothing or jewellery so that you are wearing it
    Dorothy put on her coat and went out.
    Kim had forgotten to put his watch on.
  2. 3
    to make a machine or piece of equipment start working, especially by pressing a switch
    Can you put the light on, please?
    Shall I put the kettle on for a cup of tea?
    I had forgotten to put the handbrake on, so the car rolled back down the hill.
    1. a.
      to put a video, CD etc in a piece of equipment so that you can watch it or listen to it
      I’m going to put my new CD on.
      Shall we put some music on?
  3. 4
    to organize an event, show, performance etc
    We’re putting on a concert to raise money for cancer charities.
  4. 5
    to pretend to have a particular feeling or a particular way of speaking or behaving
    Stop putting on that funny voice!
    be putting it on: She’s not really upset – she’s just putting it on.
    put on an act: I think he was just putting on an act to get sympathy.
  5. 6
    if you put on weight, you become fatter
    She put a lot of weight on after the children were born.
    I’ve put on 2kg in the last month.
  6. 7
    to start cooking something
    I’ll put the vegetables on in a minute.
  7. 8
    put something on someone/something to cause something to affect someone or something
    I feel that too much responsibility is put on teachers.
    Advertising aimed at children puts a lot of pressure on parents.
  8. 9
    put something on something British to add an amount of money to the cost or value of something
    The government is putting 2p on the price of petrol.
  9. 10
    put something on someone/something to risk a particular amount of money by trying to guess the result of a race or competition
    I put £5 on The Whitkirk Wanderer to win the Grand National.
    Synonyms and related words
  10. 11
    to pass the telephone to someone so they can speak to the person you have been talking to
    Wait a minute, Mum, I’ll put Joe on.
    Synonyms and related words
  11. 12
    to provide a bus, train etc for people to use
    They’re going to put on extra buses to take fans to the concert.
  12. 13
    put someone on something to say what medical treatment someone should have
    I was put on a low-fat diet.
    The doctor put him on a course of antibiotics.
  13. 14
    put something on something to record something in an account so that someone can pay for it later
    Can you put the drinks on my bill, please?
    We put the meal on expenses.
  14. 15
    same as put
    We put on a fantastic performance against a much more experienced side.
  15. 16
    put someone on something to make someone responsible for dealing with something
    I was put on cleaning duties.
  16. 17
    mainly American informal to try to make someone believe something that is not true
    put someone on: Don’t believe that. He’s putting you on!
See also main entry: put


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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