In India, the phrase "put down one's papers" means to submit one's resignation at a workplace. Is this usage universal? I suspect this is Indian.

  • 3
    I have not heard it used very often in my area, or in print. (I am a native speaker of American English.) Apr 13, 2011 at 4:18
  • Yes it is commonly used in India but mainly in the IT industry - so I suspect you've heard this from fellow IT colleagues? it's not universal from what I know.
    – JoseK
    Apr 13, 2011 at 6:56
  • though i'm not sure if "put in one's papers" has a more widespread usage
    – JoseK
    Apr 13, 2011 at 7:56
  • It looks like even "put in one's papers" is Indian English.
    – MediumOne
    Apr 13, 2011 at 10:42
  • I have heard and seen (in India) only put in one's papers, never "put down one's papers". Nov 19, 2011 at 17:41

3 Answers 3


Is this usage universal?

I've not ever heard or seen it used in the UK. People in the UK would mostly say "he gave notice", "he quit", "he resigned" or "he handed in his resignation".

  • Same goes for the U.S.
    – Bob
    Aug 2, 2012 at 17:24

Yes, this is “Made in India”. In fact I know the Indian guy who actually wordsmith this phrase. His name is Deepak Garg and he wordsmith this phrase when he resigned from his job in Bangalore in 2008. That time only he admitted to making up that phrase on his own.

Soon after he used that phrase, it was commonly used all over his workplace and gradually spread to the entire city.

  • 1
    @Neha Doshi - I have heard people using this phrase (put in papers) earlier than 2008. The first time I came across about this was in late 2005... nevertheless it's a slang and is in use only in India especially among the IT professionals..
    – user24399
    Aug 2, 2012 at 15:50
  • Its like Gangnam style which is meaningless way to convey the actions (faceplam)
    – NaN
    Feb 22, 2018 at 4:32

I have heard this phrase used in India way back in 2003, when I resigned - my boss had asked me," Why are you putting in your papers?". So the usage must have started in early part of last decade, perhaps even earlier than that.

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