Is the word put a synonym to throw? If a boy exerts his strength to throw a ball, can we also use "put" to describe such? Some online dictionaries define put as "throw a force or weight," which is confusing.

  • The AHDEL definition of this sense comes closer to being precise than that of say Collins or R K Webster's. What is really required is a list of direct objects normally used with it / actual situations where it is used. As mikeagg says, the usage is very restricted. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:27
  • In some contexts "put" might be used, but not generally. Eg, in (US baseball) pitching practice the catcher may hit his fist into his catcher's mitt, hold it up, and yell "Put 'er there!" In general (outside of "shot put"), the verb implies causing the ball to successfully hit some target, vs simply being thrown.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


Well, if you put the ball in the basket, you scored. If you threw the ball at the basket, you could still have missed. It's a little less confusing if you say you threw the ball into the basket, but an emotionally invested team fan might still want some clarification. No such confusion with "put." Plus it's shorter.

  • Good point. But the question says nothing about baskets. Mikeagg answers the question for "put the ball" on its own.
    – Margana
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:11

That meaning of put is really only used in the context of the Shot Put (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_put). If you tried to use put as a synonym for throw in any other context, you would certainly confuse people.

  • Except that the clearly related putt is used in golf.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 20:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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