Like in this example:

He was worried that X was putting him on.

6 Answers 6


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."


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


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

  • 2
    The usual infinitive form of the latter is "play-acting".
    – Marthaª
    Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 22:59

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

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