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Thread: put on

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    #1

    put on

    please, help me
    what does "put on fewer airs" and "put on harry mean"?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: put on

    'Putting on airs' is pretending to be more important/significant than you really are. I've never met 'put on Harry', though 'Harry' appears in some other idioms. My father-in-law used to complain about tools being 'blunt as Old Harry' - though maybe this was a purely Dorset saying, referring to Old Harry Rocks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. In other sayings, 'Old Harry' is a euphemism for Satan.

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    #3

    Re: put on

    If you are 'putting somebody on', such as Harry, you are tricking or teasing them. What you said is not true but maybe they (Harry) will 'fall for it' and believe you. You then usually laugh and tell the truth. I once told my friend that my bread machine even shaped the buns I had made and she believed me but only for a minute.

    Hope this is what you had in mind. Context means a lot.

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    #4

    Re: put on

    I should have mentioned to 'put someone on' is a colloquialism or idiom. Another colloquialism we might have used instead is 'to pull someone's leg'.

    To put on airs, another example of a colloquialism, has been explained already.

    Usually you put on clothing or dishes on the table. Etc.

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    #5

    Re: put on

    I have a vague feeling that I've also met the expression 'all Harry' to mean 'very much/extremely'. If your context refers to 'put on airs', there's a chance that 'put on Harry' means something like 'put on airs in every possible way'. But, as Whoknows has explained, 'put on' has a different meaning - although it's fairly old-fashioned. In the 1950's it was common for people to say 'You're putting me on'. Today people would say something like Whoknows's 'You're pulling my leg.' Other modern possiblities are 'You're winding me up' (/waɪ.../) ,'You're kidding me' and 'You're having me on'. I've heard these last two conflated into 'You're kidding me on', but I don't think that's a recognized idiom.

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