I was looking for a slightly more informal equivalent for "install" (which seems to carry a certain connotation of the procedure being somewhat complex or elaborate), and I've found the phrasal verb "put in" in dictionaries, where it's defined as "to install or set up; to fix a piece of equipment somewhere and connect it so that it is ready to be used;

Longman notes that "Put in is more common in everyday English than install and is used especially about things that are not very complicated to install"

It's not something I've used or heard a lot- maybe I just haven't been paying attention- so is the definition accurate? Is "put in" used in this way? And does it mean anything to Americans (I'm particularly interested in American English but all answers and observations are most welcome; I'm asking since Merriam Webster doesn't list it as having the meaning of "install").

A few examples (would you use put in in the following cases? If not what would you?):

  • We decided to have a new bathroom put in.
  • The workmen are coming to put the new windows in today
  • They removed the bath and put in a shower instead
  • They’re putting Paul’s new stove in next week
  • I've just had central heating/a new kitchen put in
  • We’re having a burglar alarm put in
  • They're putting in a new meterless parking system across the city that uses your smartphone to pay instead
  • We had to put in a second internet router so we could get Wi-Fi throughout the house
  • I heard that the neighbors are going to put in a pool in their back yard
  • We put in a new washing machine
  • 1
    Put in is a synonym of install after all. If only the context supports the phrase without ambiguity. thesaurus.com/browse/install
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 12:46
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    I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. If you're simply asking if "put in" is suitable in those seven examples you gave, then, yes, it is. You could say either "put in" or "install" in all of them. I'd only also interchangeably use "set up" in the third, fourth, maybe sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and maybe tenth.
    – Billy
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 13:08
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    All of your examples are something that this native AmE speaker would use.
    – John Feltz
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 13:10
  • @Billy my question was whether "put in" is a valid synonym for "install". In particular in American English. Thanks for the answer
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 13:18
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    I would argue for "put in the new windows" not "put the new windows in." I think "put in" works as a synonym for install. But the second form leaves me asking "What do you want me to put them in?" Compare "install the new windows in the bathroom." Or alternatively "put in new bathroom windows."
    – puppetsock
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


Is "put in" is a valid synonym for "install", in particular in American English.

to put-in TFD

  1. to insert or install. We're having a new shower put in.

  2. put in - set up for use; "install the washer and dryer"; "We put in a new sink".

Yes, to put in is typically used in Ame to install simple do it yourself products, appliances. plants etc. See AmE Idiomatic Expressions - google book

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