Definition of put something to sleep in US English:

put something to sleep


  • Kill an animal, especially an old, sick, or badly injured one, painlessly (used euphemistically).

    • ‘It can be very distressing to put an animal to sleep when it bounds into the room wagging its tail.’
    • ‘In it she claimed that she had ‘found a cure for things the vet put your animal to sleep for.’’
    • ‘There have been rumours that we put animals to sleep once we cannot house them.’
    • ‘‘Unfortunately the arrow had hit the small intestine of the animal and the vet decided to put it to sleep,’ he said.’
    • ‘Sixteen animals were put to sleep because of their injuries, and three animals were believed to be the victims of deliberate attacks.’
    • ‘Okay, I know with an animal they put them to sleep if they are suffering.’
    • ‘Even when it involves visiting farms, making house calls or putting a terminally-ill animal to sleep, ‘it's what we are there for’.’
    • ‘To say categorically that it is crueler to put any cat to sleep rather than send it outdoors is a rash overgeneralization.’
    • ‘My Mother half-heartedly thought about putting both dogs to sleep at the same time to save the male dog the pain, but knows she can't very well put down a completely healthy dog!’
    • ‘She had been given the dogs by a pet shop who said that if she couldn't find a home for them, to put them to sleep.’
    put down, destroy, put out of its misery
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