put down to
put (something) down to (something else)
1. To regard a situation, action, or outcome as being the result of some specific aspect, condition, or event. The runner put her leg pain down to simple muscle fatigue, but she was shocked to learn that it was due to deep vein thrombosis. I put most of my success down to the excellent education I received in college.
2. To regard a situation, action, or outcome, especially a negative one, as a means of gaining something positive. I know you're upset about failing your exam, but just put it down to experience and study harder next time. I doubt I'll get my money back for this broken computer. I guess I'll just put it down to learning the hard way to be more careful when I buy used products.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
put something down to somethingand set something down to something
to explain something as being caused by something else. I put his bad humor down to his illness. We set your failure down to your emotional upset.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.