Understanding the Idiom: "put down as" - Meaning, Origins, and Usage

Idiom language: English

Origins and Historical Context of the Idiom “put down as”

The idiom “put down as” is a common phrase used in English language, which has its roots deeply embedded in history. The origin of this phrase can be traced back to the early 17th century, when it was first used to describe an action of writing something down on paper or parchment.

Over time, the meaning of this phrase evolved and it began to be used in a figurative sense. Today, “putting someone or something down as” means making a judgment or assumption about them based on certain characteristics or traits that they possess.

The historical context surrounding the development of this idiom is also significant. During the 17th century, literacy rates were low and writing was still considered a luxury reserved for the wealthy and educated. As such, putting something down on paper carried great weight and significance.

As society progressed and literacy became more widespread, written communication became increasingly important. This led to the evolution of language and idioms like “put down as”, which reflect our changing attitudes towards written communication.

Usage and Variations of the Idiom “put down as”

When it comes to idioms, their usage can vary greatly depending on context and region. The same goes for the idiom “put down as”. While its basic meaning is to classify or categorize someone or something in a certain way, there are several variations that exist within this phrase.

Variation 1: Put Down For

One variation of this idiom is “put down for”, which means to assign someone a particular task or responsibility. For example, if your boss puts you down for organizing the company’s annual picnic, it means that he has assigned you with that task.

Variation 2: Put Down To

Another variation is “put down to”, which refers to attributing a particular cause or reason for something. For instance, if someone says they were late because of traffic, we could put it down to heavy congestion on the roads.

  • Other variations include:
  • “Put me/you/him/her/them etc. down” – meaning insult or belittle someone.
  • “Put something/someone down” – meaning set something/someone on a surface.
  • “Put an animal/person/thing/etc. down” – meaning euthanize an animal; kill a person; stop using an object.

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Cultural Insights for the Idiom “put down as”

When we use an idiom like “put down as,” it’s important to understand its meaning in context. However, sometimes we may encounter situations where we need to find synonyms or antonyms for this phrase. Additionally, understanding cultural insights related to this idiom can help us better communicate with native speakers of English.


Some possible synonyms for “put down as” include:

– Categorize

– Classify

– Label

– Identify

– Tag

Using these words instead of “put down as” can add variety to your language and make your speech or writing more interesting.


On the other hand, some possible antonyms for “put down as” include:

– Misidentify

– Mistake

– Confuse

These words suggest that someone has made a mistake when trying to categorize something or someone. It’s important to note that using these words could be seen as negative or critical.

Cultural Insights: In American culture, there is a tendency towards categorizing people based on their appearance or background. This is often referred to as stereotyping and can lead to misunderstandings and discrimination. It’s important to recognize that individuals are unique and should not be judged solely based on their outward characteristics.

Practical Exercises for the Idiom “put down as”

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blanks

Complete the following sentences by filling in the blanks with appropriate words using “put down as” idiom:

I ____________ her ___________ a diligent worker. (a) put / up
The detective _________________ his partner’s mistake ______________ carelessness. (b) put / down as
I __________________ him ___________________ an experienced driver. (c) put / down as

Exercise 2: Create Your Own Sentences

Create three original sentences using “put down as” idiom. Be sure to use it correctly and effectively. Share your sentences with a partner or teacher for feedback.

Remember that practice is key when it comes to mastering idioms like “put down as”. By completing these practical exercises, you’ll be well on your way to confidently using this phrase in everyday conversation!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using the Idiom “put down as”

When it comes to using idioms, it’s important to understand their meanings and proper usage. The idiom “put down as” is no exception. However, even with a good understanding of its definition, there are common mistakes that people make when using this phrase.

Mistake #1: Confusing “put down as” with “write down as”

The idiom “put down as” means to classify or categorize someone or something in a certain way. It is often used in informal speech and writing. Some people may confuse it with the similar-sounding phrase “write down as,” which means to record information on paper or another medium.

Mistake #2: Using the wrong preposition

Another mistake that people make when using the idiom “put down as” is using the wrong preposition after it. The correct preposition to use is usually “as.” For example, you might say, “I would put him down as a hard worker.” Using other prepositions such as “for” or “to” can change the meaning of the sentence.

By avoiding these common mistakes and paying attention to proper usage, you can effectively incorporate the idiom “put down as” into your vocabulary and communication skills.

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