put up to

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

put (someone) up to (something) (third-person singular simple present puts up to, present participle putting up to, simple past and past participle put up to)

  1. (idiomatic) To encourage or trick (someone) to perform an action which is foolish or wrong.
    • 1895, Stephen Crane, "A Mystery of Heroism":
      "He's goin' to that well there after water."
      "We ain't dyin' of thirst, are we? That's foolishness."
      "Well, somebody put him up to it, an' he's doin' it."
    • 1896, Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective, ch. 11:
      "I done the other things—Brace he put me up to it, and persuaded me, and promised he'd make me rich, some day, and I done it, and I'm sorry I done it."
    • 1936 Dec. 21, "Foreign News: Gloucester," Time (retrieved 2 July 2015):
      This week in London the hero of Mayfair matrons is the next-to-youngest brother of Edward VIII, His Royal Highness Henry, the Duke of Gloucester. . . . Gloucester's young Scottish Duchess put him up to telling the King-Emperor after Mrs. Simpson's departure (TIME, Dec. 14), "You are a damn fool if you run after her now!" For his pains, Gloucester got slapped.
    • 2008 April 29, Marc Lacey, "'Virtual kidnappings' in Mexico play on very real fears," New York Times (retrieved 2 July 2015):
      [T]hree suspects were brothers, ages 19, 31 and 34, who were caught collecting money squeezed from a victim. The two younger brothers blamed their older sibling, who has been in and out of prison for years, for putting them up to it.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually followed immediately by the pronoun it, whose antecedent is given in the context.

Synonyms[edit]

Further reading[edit]