Putting You Out: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
January 10, 2024

The phrase "putting you out" is often used in situations where someone is causing inconvenience or trouble to another person. It typically implies that one's actions or needs are creating a burden for someone else.

In short:

  • It refers to causing inconvenience or trouble to someone.
  • It is often used when someone feels they are burdening another person.

What Does "Putting You Out" Mean?

The phrase "putting you out" expresses concern that one's actions or requests are causing inconvenience to another person. For example, if you're staying at a friend's house and you say, "I hope I'm not putting you out," it means you're worried that your presence might be causing them extra trouble or effort. It's a considerate way of acknowledging someone else's effort or potential discomfort due to your actions.

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It's often used to show politeness or concern for the well-being of others.
  • The phrase is typically used in social situations where one person feels they might be burdening another.
  • It reflects an awareness of and sensitivity to the impact of one's actions on others.
  • This phrase is common in many cultures where causing inconvenience to others is seen negatively.
  • Similar phrases include "inconveniencing you," "causing you trouble," and "being a burden."

Where Does "Putting You Out" Come From?

The term "put" comes from the Old English "putian," meaning "to push or thrust." The word "out" originates from Old English "ut," signifying "out, without, or outside." Combined, it describes causing inconvenience or making someone go out of their way. This expression has been in use since at least the 14th century.

Historical Example

"I have to begin by telling you that our bookseller, Huart, has just left me; and he has told me the good reasons he had putting you out of humour; but you will receive immediately the statement of your account."

- French letters, 1814

10 Examples of "Putting You Out" in Sentences

To help you understand how to use this phrase, here are some examples from different situations:

  • With all due respect, I must decline your offer as I fear it might be putting you out.
  • While borrowing his tools, he asked, "I hope I'm not putting you out with this request."
  • At the dinner party, she quietly asked her host if her dietary preferences were putting them out.
  • He asked her quietly if his staying over was putting her out, and she turned silent as a grave.
  • Before accepting the offer, she considered whether it would be putting them out financially.
  • He always worries about putting his friends out when he needs help moving.
  • During the office move, she asked her colleague if rearranging her schedule was putting her out.
  • They thought setting me up in the spare room would be putting me out, but it was nothing compared to my tiny apartment.
  • She decided to jump ship and leave the company, but not before putting you out of a job.
  • At the restaurant, they asked the waiter if substituting ingredients was putting him out.

Examples of "Putting You Out" in Pop Culture

This phrase is also used in pop culture, often in scenarios where characters are concerned about being a burden to others.

Let's look at some examples:

  • In the movie "You've Got Mail," Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks, says to Kathleen Kelly, "How can you forgive this guy for standing you up and not forgive me for this tiny little thing of... of putting you out of business?"
  • In her book "Uprooted," Naomi Novik writes: "Their law didn't seem to allow for mistakes, and if you couldn't make what you said true, they'd repair the fault in the world by putting you out of it."
  • The song "Once Around the Block" by Badly Drawn Boy contains the lyrics: "You quiver like a candle on fire, I'm putting you out, maybe tonight we could be the last shout."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Putting You Out"

Here are some alternative phrases that express the same idea:

  • Causing you trouble
  • Being a burden
  • Inconveniencing you
  • Making things difficult for you
  • Causing you extra work
  • Being a hassle
  • Bothering you
  • Making demands on your time
  • Imposing on you
  • Creating difficulties for you

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Putting You Out":

  • What does "putting you out" mean?

"Putting you out" means causing inconvenience or trouble to someone else. It's often used when someone is concerned about being a burden.

  • How can I use "putting you out" in a sentence?

You can use it when you're worried that your actions or needs are troubling someone else. For example, "Am I putting you out by asking for a ride?

  • Is "putting you out" a formal or casual expression?

It's a casual expression, more likely to be used in personal conversations than in formal settings.

  • Can "putting you out" be used in professional contexts?

While it's more common in personal interactions, it can be used in a professional context to show concern for colleagues' time or workload.

  • Is it rude to say someone is "putting you out"?

It can be seen as direct or somewhat blunt. It's important to use it carefully to avoid offending someone.

  • How do you respond if someone asks if they are "putting you out"?

A polite response would be to reassure them if they are not causing inconvenience, or to discuss alternatives if they are.

  • Can "putting you out" imply a financial burden?

Yes, it can imply any form of inconvenience, including financial.

  • Are there cultural differences in how "putting you out" is perceived?

Yes, in some cultures, expressing concern about being a burden is more common and expected than in others.

  • What's a more formal way of saying "putting you out"?

In a formal setting, you might say "causing you inconvenience" or "imposing on your time."

  • Can "putting you out" be used jokingly?

Yes, it can be used in a light-hearted way, especially among friends or family.

Final Thoughts About "Putting You Out"

The phrase "putting you out" is a helpful way to express concern about causing inconvenience to others. It's essential to be aware of the context and the relationship between the people involved when using this phrase.

To recap:

  • It's used to show awareness and concern about burdening others.
  • While casual, it can be used in professional settings with care.
  • Responses to this phrase should be considerate of the other person's feelings and circumstances.
  • Cultural sensitivity is important when interpreting or using this phrase.

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