Put up with

Put up with is an idiom that has been in use for about 250 years. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, on the ball, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom put up with, from where this expression is derived, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To put up with someone or something means to tolerate it, to endure something annoying, to patiently accept something or someone that is unpleasant. One usually puts up with someone or something as a kindness or in order to achieve a bigger goal. To put up with is a phrasal verb, related phrases are puts up with, putting up with. The idiom put up with first came into use in the 1770s, and evolved from an older idiom, to put up.


“We’ve had a terrible summer,” said Fossitt, who has also put up with regular heavy truck traffic and piles of dust. (The Ottawa Citizen)

Molly-Mae’s comments mean she’s unlikely to put up with Tommy’s lack of independence in the real world once they leave the villa. (The Mirror)

Kass explained: “We had to put up with this damp, unclean water smell and you just never really felt clean, you just felt dirty the whole time and we had to sit there for a whole week.” (The Sun)

Queen Catherine “had a lot to put up with” after travelling to Britain to Portugal to cement the British Royal Family’s alliance with Lisbon through her marriage to Charles II, BBC presenter Fiona Bruce claimed. (The Daily Express)

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