since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
Get your 7 Secrets FREE

put down

This page is about the euphemism put down


to kill an animal, esp. one of no commercial value

For example

  • It's leg was broken, so the owners had the horse put down.

  • Every year thousands of puppies bred for dog racing on "puppy farms" are put down.

Mostly used when talking about killing animals that have little or no commercial value, like racehorses that can no longer race due to injury or old age, or greyhound puppies that show few signs of becoming profitable racing dogs. Also used when talking about killing animals that have attacked or bitten someone.

Quick Quiz

Animals are usually put down because they can't

a. make money for their owners

b. bite or attack their owners

c. do tricks for their owners

Contributor: Matt Errey