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  1. a person who makes pottery.

Origin of potter1

before 1100; Middle English; late Old English pottere. See pot1, -er1


verb (used without object), noun Chiefly British.
  1. putter1.

Origin of potter2

1520–30; frequentative of obsolete, dial. pote to push, poke, Middle English poten, Old English potian to push, thrust. See put, -er6
Related formspot·ter·er, nounpot·ter·ing·ly, adverb


  1. Be·a·trix [bee-uh-triks] /ˈbi ə trɪks/, 1866–1943, English writer and illustrator of children's books.
  2. Paul,1625–54, Dutch painter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for potter

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So, it all depends on the contents with which the Potter fills his jugs and pipkins, I assure you.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Roma swallowed something in her throat and said: "Who was it, General Potter?"

  • Lieutenant Potter, of troop "C" had his horse shot under him.

  • My father is at Victoria, and I have been staying with Mrs. Potter for a day or two.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss

  • We sat down in the Potter pew a few minutes before the service began.

    'Charge It'

    Irving Bacheller

British Dictionary definitions for potter


  1. a person who makes pottery


esp US and Canadian putter

  1. (intr; often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
  2. (intr; often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or directionto potter about town
  3. (tr usually foll by away) to waste (time)to potter the day away
  1. the act of pottering
Derived Formspotterer or esp US and Canadian putterer, noun

Word Origin

C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put


  1. (Helen) Beatrix. 1866–1943, British author and illustrator of children's animal stories, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
  2. Dennis (Christopher George). 1935–94, British dramatist. His TV plays include Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Singing Detective (1986), and Blackeyes (1989)
  3. Paulus. 1625–54, Dutch painter, esp of animals
  4. Stephen. 1900–70, British humorist and critic. Among his best-known works are Gamesmanship (1947) and One-Upmanship (1952), on the art of achieving superiority over others
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for potter


"maker of pots" (they also sometimes doubled as bell-founders), late Old English pottere "potter," reinforced by Old French potier "potter," agent noun from root of pot (n.1). As a surname from late 12c. Potter's field (1520s) is Biblical, a ground where clay suitable for pottery was dug, later purchased by high priests of Jerusalem as a burying ground for strangers, criminals, and the poor (Matt. xxvii:7). An older Old English word for "potter" was crocwyrhta "crock-wright."


"occupy oneself in a trifling way," 1740, earlier "to poke again and again" (1520s), frequentative of obsolete verb poten "to push, poke," from Old English potian "to push" (see put (v.)). Sense of "occupy oneself in a trifling way" is first recorded 1740. Related: Pottered; pottering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper