What do you take "put out" to mean in the following context?

We had no sooner arrived at the address than I had other things to think of. “Mr. Dickson? He's gone,” said the landlady. Where had he gone? “I'm sure I can't tell you,” she answered. “He was quite a stranger to me.” “Did he express his baggage, ma'am?” asked Pinkerton. “Hadn't any,” was the reply. “He came last night and left again to-day with a satchel.” “When did he leave?” I inquired. “It was about noon,” replied the landlady. “Someone rang up the telephone, and asked for him; and I reckon he got some news, for he left right away, although his rooms were taken by the week. He seemed considerable put out: I reckon it was a death.”

(From The Wrecker by R. L. Stevenson and L. Osbourne, chapter X, published 1892) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Wrecker_(Stevenson)/Chapter_10

  • 4
    put out = annoyed Sep 30, 2023 at 17:57
  • and/or "inconvenienced, and showing it in his tone of voice". Sep 30, 2023 at 19:31
  • 2
    And 'considerable' is dialect for 'considerably' Sep 30, 2023 at 19:59
  • 2
    To put someone out can mean to inconvenience them, e.g. would it put you out if I parked my car in your driveway? Sep 30, 2023 at 21:06
  • 1
    Put out=upset/inconvenienced
    – Sam
    Oct 1, 2023 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


Within the context, the following definitions of put out all could fit:

  • to confuse; embarrass:
    It put her out badly when she went to pay and realized her wallet was still at home.
  • to vex or annoy:
    He was put out when I missed our appointment.
  • to subject to inconvenience:
    I don't want to put you out, so I'll wait until after dinner to stop by.

Since the landlady tells Loudon she reckons Mr. Dickson was informed about a death, it seems most fitting the latter was vexed (annoyed or troubled) by the call.

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