put back

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: putback and put-back



  • (file)


put back (third-person singular simple present puts back, present participle putting back, simple past and past participle put back)

  1. (transitive) To return something to its original place.
    He carefully put the vase back on the shelf.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0045:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.
  2. (intransitive, nautical) To turn back; to return.
    • (Can we date this quote by Robert Southey and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The French [] had put back to Toulon.
  3. (transitive) To postpone an arranged event or appointment.
    The meeting has been put back to 5.00 pm.
  4. (transitive, idiomatic) To drink fast; to knock down alcohol.
    You'll need to put that drink back quickly; it's very nearly closing time.
    • 1988, Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library, Penguin Books, paperback edition, p.13
      Whisky he sipped at suspiciously, and still had not got an adult taste for; but wine he loved, and he put back champagne as if it were lager, with awful belches and chuckles after each glass.
  5. (transitive, idiomatic) To change the time in a time zone to an earlier time.
    Don't forget that this Sunday we put the clocks back an hour.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The object in all senses can come before or after the particle. If it is a pronoun, then it must come before the particle.


Merge-arrow.gif It has been requested that this entry be merged with return(+).