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Put away

Posted by David Lamb on July 22, 2006

In Reply to: Put away posted by Meeran on July 20, 2006

: what is the meaning of "put away"?

It depends on the context. It can mean simply "to put something back in its usual storage space after use". In older English, it could mean divorce, or separation from one you were betrothed to. For example, in the Authorised Version of the bible (known as the "King James Version" in America), Joseph, was betrothed to Mary the mother of Jesus, on finding out that she was pregnant, "was minded to put her away privily." It can mean "to save money for the future" as in the saying, "We've got something put away for a rainy day." Then it can mean "to confine someone in an institution" (such as a prison or an aylum), as in "He had his mother-in-law put away because he couldn't cope with her senility"). Lastly (though there may well be meanings I am not aware of) it can mean "eat greedily, or in copious amounts" as in "I remember John on a family holiday. The food he could put away! I still don't know where he puts it all!"


David Lamb (UK)

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