Like in this example:

He was worried that X was putting him on.


In this case it means to tease someone, meaning 2 below (from Answers.com).

put-on n. Slang

  1. A deceptive outward appearance.

  2. The act of teasing or misleading someone, especially for amusement.

  3. Something, such as a prank, intended as a hoax or joke; a spoof.

Note that this link is for the noun form, but the verb ("to put someone on") has the same meaning.

Sample usage:

Bill said he was going to help me fix my car, but it turns out he was just putting me on.


Briefly, related sayings might include:

Are you having me on? (To kid or mislead someone )

Are you taking the mickey out of me? (Teasing or making fun of someone)

He's pulled a fast one. (To trick or mislead someone)


He was worried that X was playing a trick on him, or setting him up for a little prank; in American English usage it's generally used to indicate that X is trying to get him to believe something extremely improbable (and not actually true), and at the point where he finally accepts the truth of the improbable thing, X could say "No, I was just putting you on."


Put on here means "pretending" or "play-acting".

  • 2
    The usual infinitive form of the latter is "play-acting". – Marthaª Feb 11 '11 at 22:59

The English English equivalent being "taking the piss" -is that fair?


The NOAD describes put someone on as informal for deceive, hoax.

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:56

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.