1. Put, place, lay, set mean to bring or take an object (or cause it to go) to a certain location or position, there to leave it. Put is the general word: to put the dishes on the table; to put one's hair up. Place is a more formal word, suggesting precision of movement or definiteness of location: He placed his hand on the Bible. Lay, meaning originally to cause to lie, and set, meaning originally to cause to sit, are used particularly to stress the position in which an object is put: lay usually suggests putting an object rather carefully into a horizontal position: to lay a pattern out on the floor. Set usually means to place upright: to set a child on a horse. 16. levy, inflict.