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1. To return something to its previous location or position. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "back." No, put the chocolate back! You can't have any until after dinner. I told you not to touch my phone—put it back, now!
2. To stall, delay, or postpone something until a later time or date. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "back." They decided to put back the release date of their war film as a sign of respect to the victims of the attack. We've put this product back too much already—I want it out and in people's hands by the first of May, come hell or high water!
3. To cause someone or something to become stalled, delayed, or postponed until a later time or date. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "back." I thought I'd get home in time for dinner, but traffic on the interstate put me back by about an hour. They were supposed to replace our fence back in October, but the terrible weather we've had this winter put them back until February. The labor strike has put the product's release back by three months and counting.
4. To eat or drink something, especially very quickly or with great enthusiasm. She put back three shots of whiskey in less than an hour and isn't even phased. I was so hungry, I put back two hamburgers and a full steak dinner.
5. To cause someone to feel astonished, shocked, disconcerted, or offended. Usually used in passive constructions. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "back." Her behavior put me back at first, but as the date went on we actually got along very well. I was rather put back by his comments, and I left the party as soon as I had a chance.
6. To cost one an amount of money. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "back." Getting the car fixed is going to put me back nearly a grand. It's estimated the failed product put the company back roughly $2 million. Any idea how much this repair is going to put me back?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
put something back
1. to return something to where it was before. Please put the book back when you finish it. Put back the book when you finish.
2. Go to set something back.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To return something to the position from which it was taken: No, you may not eat another cookie, so put it back! I put back the books I'd taken from the shelf.
2. To drink completely: I put back four bottles of beer with dinner.
3. To reschedule something to an earlier time: They put the meeting back from 3:00 to noon. Let's put back the date a few weeks.
4. To cause someone or something to be delayed: We hoped to start painting the house this week, but the bad weather put us back several days. The lack of funds put back the project a few months.
5. To cause someone or something to be offended. Used chiefly in the passive: I was put back by their uncaring remarks.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.