What does put up mean?

A lady was in so much pain so someone "put up a medication pump in her".

What does put up mean here?

Next, a nurse came up to me and said "I'm just going to put this IV drip up."

What does put up mean there?


  • then how do we word it? put a drip up on the patient or put a drip up in the patient? put a syringe pump up on the patient or in the patient?
    – Rafael M
    Aug 3, 2017 at 20:57
  • What do you think it means? Think of the context, think of what the nurse is doing. You need to demonstrate that you have made a fair attempt to understand the meaning.
    – James K
    Aug 10, 2017 at 20:58

3 Answers 3


If you install a bag of intravenous meds, you put it higher than the patient (up) so gravity keeps it dripping down. More generally, put up means install. A pump may not need gravity, so the general meaning of install fits. Note also that a nurse came up to you, another example of verb phrases with up.

This is medical jargon, the shorthand that staff use to dispatch quick and clear information to each other, not general-purpose everyday English. The intravenous line is placed in the patient, and drugs-electrolytes-sugar are put up in the bag of fluids that drip down. Once people use the term put up, they continue to call it up even if a pump is below the patient and pumps up.

Same with putting up peaches for the winter -- Maybe filled jars were originally stored up on high shelves, but now putting up means canning (in glass jars) for long term storage


Usually the phrase "Put up" inclines towards toleration. "Put up" for toleration can be used as "if he troubles you to a point of frustration, why do you put up with him?" It means here why do you tolerate his nonsense and cause yourself harm.

The sentence you are referring to "A lady was in so much pain so someone "put up a medication pump in her"." sounds like slang or used in a colloquial manner. Here "put up in her" also sounds harsh like it was shoved into her. It also means that the lady was having problem breathing (she was probably an asthmatic and someone helped her with a breathing pump.) - its all about perspective

The second sentence "a nurse came up to me and said I'm just going to put this IV drip up" means hanging the IV drip unto the stand. Again colloquial.

  • I suggest that put up a medication pump in her is simply mistaken and rather unlikely to come from a native speaker, even of some far-flung outpost of the English tongue. I find it hard to see how I'm just going to put this IV drip up is colloquial. To me, it sounds a perfect, literal description of a simple and obvious mechanical process. there are other meanings to put up and they shouldn't be relevant here… Aug 3, 2017 at 23:10
  • I must have misheard him as he was Scottish and he talked really fast. But back from where I come from, we would usually say 'I started the patient on a drip'. But for the word put up... I only find it natural to say 'I put the fluid up just an hour ago'. This thread though would lead me to my next question. What would happen if I were to include a subject in my sentence. 'I put the fluid up (in/on/for) the patient just an hour ago. Are all of the options unusual? Thanks
    – Rafael M
    Aug 4, 2017 at 7:54

@Rafael M, Due to less reputation points I can add comments so here's the answer to your question: "I put the fluid up "for" the patient just an hour ago" sounds good. For "on" we can say "I put the patient on fluid just an hour ago. For "in" I am unable to make a sensible sentence.

@Robbie Goodwin, the reason this sentence "I'm just going to put this IV drip up" sounded colloquial is because, when it comes to IV, it is supposed to be hung. I am not saying colloquial way is wrong, but we do not know if the question asked here, is going to be used in a colloquial manner or not. Hence to make the person asking understand better, I said it is colloquial.

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