Posted by Smokey Stover on February 14, 2004
In Reply to: Put yourself out posted by R. Berg on February 13, 2004
: : : : When my granny and mother were angry, they would say that they were "put out." "I am very put out with you right now!" I just used that expression and the class asked me what it meant and where it came from. I gave them the above explanation saying that I thought it was Irish or British. I then realized that another form of "to put out" means something entirely different here in the States. Any help here?
: : : : Thanks!
: : : Your UK and Irish use is certainly the only one I've ever heard or used here in the UK.
: : : However, it's quite possible to 'put out' the cat for the night! I guess you don't mean this use.
: : In West Virginia, we used "put out" to mean annoyed, etc. Also, it means "don't go to any trouble." You might tell a hostess, "Don't put yourself out on my account."
: In California, "put out" and "put yourself out" have the meanings that ESC reported for West Virginia. "Put out" also has the sexual meaning that you alluded to in your query.
The dictionary list of meanings provided by ESC demonstrates the importance of context. I don't think anyone hearing the expression "put out" has much doubt as to which meaning is intended, but it's worth noting that the meaning at 5a is almost invariably used in the passive voice. It's also worth noting that the sexual meaning has a bit more nuance than indicated in the dictionary. "She puts out" means that she's fairly loose. You might also hear "He was mad that she wouldn't put out for him." No connotation here about whether or not she's loose, but more about his expectation. The expression is not used as a general synonym for "has sexual intercourse." It may not be a vulgarism, but it is chiefly used by vulgar people, that is, youthful males and older ones who have been deprived of much education and of any knowledge of political correctness. SS