Green’s Dictionary of Slang

put away v.

1. in fig. senses implying violence.

(a) to kill, to murder.

Greene Pandosto A4v: Deuising with himself a long time how he might best put away Egistus without suspition of treacherous murder, hee concluded at last to poyson him.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 4 Dec. 38/2: She began to tell me her husband was come home from sea, and she was with child, and did not choose to live with him, till she was delivered, and had put it away.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 18 Dec. 7/1: ‘This is the third man I put away, so I suppose my time’s up’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 July 7/1: Very valuable dogs, extremely expensive stallions, and other vicious animals are ‘put away’ effectually on the results of their actions, not on their motives.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Aug. 10/1: O Blessed Interpreter! / Scene – Suburban Police-court / Witness: ‘Prisoner said he’d plug me if I blew th’ gaff, yer Wusshup.’ / Stipendiary: ‘What does that mean?’ / Witness: ‘Why, put ’im away.’ / Stipendiary: ‘Put him where? I don’t understand you at all.’.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Mord Em’ly 67: Murder? Someone says it’s murder. Very like she’s put her parents aw’y.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 29 Dec. 6/1: [headline] He Has Had Many a Fight With the Desperate Bandits Who Rob Trains and He Has Put More Than One Away.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 229: There are four main gangs [...] the smallest of them’s large enough to put us away, if we give them the chance.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 159: The boys had put away forever five of Tim’s River Rats.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Busman’s Honeymoon (1974) 191: But is it true as ’e was put away a-purpose?

(b) (also put down) to bury.

[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 43: On’y to put me away decent, Billy, that’s all. We never know, an’ you’ll be glad of it t’elp bury me if I should go any time.
Mrs. H. Ward Sir G. Tressady I (2004) 120: It’s three weeks now sen they put him away .
[Scot]‘Ian Hay’ First Hundred Thousand (1918) 138: They’re putting away a bloomin’ Jock.
Bukka White ‘Strange Place’ 🎵 I was at my mother’s grave, when they put my mother away.
[US]Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 48: I come to put down Caesar not to groove him.
E. Lemarchand Death on Doomsday 137: I’d like to see old Peplow put away decently .
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 242: Every hood in Portsmouth went to se him ‘put away’.

(c) to knock out.

[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 12: You see we were green; and we never / Had even a thought of foul play, / Though we well might have known that the clever / Division would ‘put us away’.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 4 May 495: Till the neighbours, roused to anger, / Talked of ‘putting him away’.
[US]J. London Game 🌐 n.p.: He’s a wild man, with an kinds of punches [...] He’s put away a whole lot of cleverer and better men than him.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 291: Eddie stayed nineteen rounds against Jimmy, and if I can put him away, it gets me into line with Jimmy.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 12: Old Joe Roundheels [...] who had just been put away in two overs.
[US]C. Bukowski Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1973) 10: I had small hands and no real taste for fighting and I hadn’t put him away.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 15: Did I tell ya how I put away that Valdez chap? Third round down in TJ?

(d) (orig. US) to defeat an opponent; lit. and fig.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Feb. 6/2: We want, of course, you know we do – / To make on you a pound or two; / But beating Clifford thus, we say, / Has ‘put the betting clean away.’.
[UK]Sporting Times 5 Apr. 2/1: I don’t want to see you put away even for fun, so, take it from me, there are three strong hands out against you.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 14 July 11/2: He is doing himself an irreparable injury by [...] attempting to put away McGovern in ten rounds.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 30: Your one chance to put them away, so they’ll stay, is to put them to bed with a shovel.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 250: Jesus, how I wanted to put him away.
[US]D. Jenkins Dead Solid Perfect 55: ‘Okra’'s good for two vomits almost any day or night. The only thing I know of that can put okra away is tripe’.

(e) (Aus.) to spoil.

E.J. Brady Tom Pagdin Pirate 54: ‘[Y]ou better leave things to me, an’ keep your mouth shut, or you’ll put the whole game away’.

2. in senses meaning to confine or deposit.

(a) to imprison.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 70: put away Locked up; imprisoned.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Sept. n.p.: [headline] four thieves ‘put away’.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 120: If all that is stated so freely about Brockway is true, he ought long since to have been ‘put away’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple I 255: I haven’t done anything to be pertikler proud of [...] as regards the objik of my being put away.
Greenock Advertiser 15 June 4/1: ‘“Bunt” was sore on him [...] for he had put him away twice before [...] in the jug. Sent him up’.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 24 Dec. 12/2: ‘We got pinched [...] and i was put away for a year’.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 62: Put Away, imprisoned.
[UK]A. Binstead Houndsditch Day by Day 90: Old Joe Leapman, him as got put avay for ten years for gonophin’ a bublic-house till.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Incredulity of Juries’ Sporting Times 18 Mar. 1/4: [He] was put away for writing someone else’s name instead / Of his own upon a cheque, exchanged for sundry quidlets red.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 1 Mar. 5/4: What now were your little game? / (I knows you was put away) .
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 32: If they ever found him in this honeycomb of vice, sin, and crime, they would put him away just on general principles.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 103: Some ‘splits’ (detectives) and ‘brassies’ (policemen) are exceedingly popular with crooks — even with crooks who through their instrumentality have been ‘put away’.
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 197: He’ll get blasted pullin’ a job, or else he’ll get put away for plenty years.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘Old Man’s Story’ in A Man And His Wife (1944) 80: I don’t go much on putting people away.
[US]R. Chandler Playback 190: We’ll put him away for a while.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 20 July in Proud Highway (1997) 580: Those cow-town judges can put you away for six months.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 75: A villain they’d helped put away.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Big Brother’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] The tax man gets hold of that he’ll put us away for three years.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 95: The Crown witnesses were frantic to have me put away for life.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 317: He said you put a lot of bad outlaws away in Texas.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 350: She hud a felly who’d got pit away n [...] ah wis basically jist a substitute.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘If I could put him away for that, I could certainly put you and most of congress away for life on the same charges’.

(b) (orig. Aus. Und.) to inform against someone and thus be instrumental in having them imprisoned.

[Aus]Cornwall Chron. (Launceston, Tas.) 24 Nov. 4/6: Several surmises are afloat as to the informant who, to use the colonial slang, ‘put away’ Valentine.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 93/2: He is a regular little swine, and if I don’t mistake he has been the means of ‘putting away’ a lot of men to the ‘cops’.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 151: Little Dickey from the New Cut. 10 and a ticket. Put away by a moll (sold by an unfortunate).
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 Aug. 24/2: ‘Hello,’ loudly whispered a constable, ‘Who’s been putting you away, Mitchell?’ Everybody knew what was the significance of that recall after ‘report.’ It conveyed the interesting intelligence that the officer sent for had been informed against by a fellow-official – most likely by an immediate subordinate who wanted his billet.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 99: None know definitely who ‘put her away’.
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 48: I niver lagged ’im; s’elp me Gawd, I niver put nobody away to the cops.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Broadway Financier’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 209: Israel Ib is bound and determined to put him away.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 143: They would cheerfully put him away.
[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 191/2: Put him away. Informed on him.
[Ire]J. Phelan Tramp at Anchor 152: The man involved was the grass who had ‘put me away’.
[UK]G.F. Newman Villain’s Tale 39: Cliff’s as good as gold [...] Least, he wouldn’t put no one away.

(c) to pawn.

[Aus]M. Clarke Old Tales of a Young Country 12: He [...] lived like a man of easy fortune, and ‘put away’ large quantities of stolen goods.
[UK]Daily News 22 Oct. 3/3: They have clothes and household effects...which, if need be, they can ‘put away’ during the winter.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Galsworthy Silver Box in Complete Works (1930) I 32: Mrs. Jones: We’ve not got a home, sir. Of course we’ve been obliged to put away most of our things. Barthwick: Put your things away! You mean to – to – er – to pawn them? Mrs. Jones: Yes, sir, to put them away [OED].
[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 12/1: Putting away his ice, pawning his diamond.

(d) to put in a lunatic asylum or old people’s home.

Philadelphia Enquirer (PA) 28 Nov. 6/1: This man has been in the asylum for ten years [...] he is afraid to say anything lest it be heard by the Lutheran secret societies who had had him put away.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 2 Nov. 3/5: Giles, the jockey, was ‘put away’ in consequence of a temporary mental derangement.
[US]N.Y. Times 19 Jan. 4/1: Her case had been getting worse [...] and I had her put way in Rivercrest Sanitorium.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 69: Next he’ll be sayin’ she’s crazy an’ puttin’ her away in the asylum.
N. Marsh Death in White Tie 179: She became hopelessly insane [...] He arranged to have her put away.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 274: I got too many marbles to be put away.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 398: ‘Diane, I’m going to have you committed.’ [...] ‘You have me put away,’ said Diane through her teeth, ‘and it won’t be you I’ll kill.’.
[UK]N. Dunn Poor Cow 72: Get upstairs or I’ll be phoning the asylum and have you put away.
[US]E. Thompson Caldo Largo (1980) 275: She had just split from her husband [...] who had started messing around with some sort of hallucinogenic drug and gone nuts. She’d had him put away.
[UK]P. Barker Blow Your House Down 95: I’ve even been known to talk to it, and when I catch meself doing that I say, Hey up, Jean, you get put away for doing that.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 36: Conker Connolly said that The Barrel was a complete psycho and should be put away.

3. to eat or drink, esp. a large amount; thus putter away, a glutton.

[UK] ‘The Blowen’s Ball’ Bang-Up Songster 5: They each put away thirty muffins.
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 6 June 5/1: Well, after the prad had put away his feed, we started for ascot.
[UK]Paul Pry 18 Dec. n.p.: [T]he proprietor is [...] an awful putter away of half-and-half.
[Aus]G.C. Mundy Our Antipodes II 155: ‘Me eat her!’ replied the other [...] This was certainly one way to ‘put away’ a surplus wife!
Paul pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: The lady [...] contented herself with sherry, of which they put away a couple of bottles in no time.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 35/1: The ‘flatties’ round the room were treated to as much [wine] as they could put away.
[UK]London Life 30 Aug. 2/2: [T]he ‘lotion’ they [i.e. barmaids]are able to put away is something amazing. ‘White, satin’ is their favourite ‘tipple,’ and such a facility have they for ‘lowering’ it, that [...] every distillery in the country would have to be requisitioned to supply their wants.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 May 9/1: We had to guess how much of those invigorating dishes he could put away at one sitting, but, judging by his mouth, a bag of flour might satisfy him if he wasn’t too hungry.
[UK]Albert Chevalier ‘Blue Ribbon Janet’ 🎵 She’d a pound of dates, an’ some monkey nuts, Put chocolate away like steam.
[UK]J. Astley Fifty Years (2nd edn) I 126: It did not signify how much he put away, for at two o’clock in the morning he was [...] sober.
[UK]Punch 4 Apr. 247/3: When festivities closed, he found to his amazement that he had put away twenty-two glasses of beer.
[US]C. Connors Bowery Life [ebook] De most uv 'em wuz too busy puttin’ away de dried hay an’ mattress stuffin’ ter pay much attention ter yours truly.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Jan. 1/1: He can put away a hundred weight of scran.
[UK]Gem 30 Sept. 5: He had certainly put the provisions away, but not in a place they could be extracted from again.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 92: ‘I don’t want none of yer --- beer,’ she stormed, putting away a good half pint.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 190: The quantity of food I put away convinced them I belonged on the water front.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 90: And I can put away quite a lot of beer in a good cause.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘That Summer’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 169: For the price of our half-handles we put away just about as much as we could hold.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 301: Did me good to see you putting away that.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 79: The blonde one, old Bernice, was drinking bourbon and water. She was really putting it away, too.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 15: He had put away more swill than Loudmouth.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 191: I mustta put a quart away already.
[US]Rolling Stone 22 Sept. 30: For a man who should not drink (he is diabetic), he is putting away plenty of booze.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 146: The whole cast from the melodrama of childhood [...] had put Cold Duck away until the cows came home.
[SA]P. Hotz Muzukuru 39: Every member of the team had to put away three-four beers.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 127: Shuz tiny, Sioned, but she can drink like a fuckin fish; she puts it awey by the gallon.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘He’d come in here for a drink on occasion. Could put it away, too. Not a pissant like you’.

4. in senses of performing, acting.

(a) (US Und.) to pose as an important person, to represent someone else as important.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Situation Wanted’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 655: I can see that he is putting me away with them very good [...] ‘Well,’ Manuel says, ‘I tell them you are the greatest American gangster that ever lives.’.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 148: I put you away strong. [Ibid.] 304: To put (someone) away. For a confidence man to pose as some prominent person whom he resembles, or to point out an accomplice as some prominent person.

(b) (orig. US black) to perform.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 112: She was putting away Young Woman Blues, one of her greatest numbers, when we eased in.

(c) of a man, to seduce a woman.

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 31: puts me away – A groovy thing that snaps you off your feet.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 195: I was your age an’ I used to put ’em away like there was no tomorrow.

(d) of an entertainer, to score a resounding success with one’s audience, to impress greatly.

[US]A. Goldman Lenny Bruce 9: Lenny is really a genius at putting away docs.