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putter1

[puht-er] /ˈpʌt ər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner:
to putter in the garden.
2.
to move or go in a specified manner with ineffective action or little energy or purpose:
to putter about the house on a rainy day.
3.
to move or go slowly or aimlessly; loiter.
noun
4.
puttering or ineffective action; dawdling.
Verb phrases
5.
putter away, to spend or fill in a random, inconsequential, or unproductive way; fritter away; waste:
We puttered the morning away.
Also, especially British, potter.
Origin of putter1
1875-1880
1875-80; variant of potter2
Related forms
putterer, noun
putteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for puttered
Historical Examples
  • Instead of the usual two-hour run to Southampton, we puttered along and did not arrive until after one.

  • Susan puttered about for a few minutes longer, then crossed to the reception room, intending to go up-stairs.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • My father-in-law and I puttered and pounded, strengthened and tightened, until we felt our semi-trailer was in good-enough order.

  • Joe returned to the house, and puttered around until supper was ready.

  • She took Winnie's wrist in her hand and pressed it reassuringly, then puttered about in her medical bag.

    The Adventures of Kathlyn Harold MacGrath
  • Mrs. Lear did not follow them upstairs immediately, but puttered about the kitchen preparing herself a midnight snack.

    Hoofbeats on the Turnpike Mildred A. Wirt
  • Nurse Nannie puttered about the room for some time, picking up things, and laying out the girls' clothes for the next day.

    Marjorie at Seacote Carolyn Wells
  • In his gray world, he puttered with his nervous hands and tugged at his sheet but he could not sit up.

    When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett
  • While he was coaxing himself to knock on the pane, Stillman puttered about the shack, petting the dog, filling his pipe.

    The Trail of the Hawk Sinclair Lewis
  • In a day or two I limbered up enough to get into my clothes and I puttered around, offering to do things.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
British Dictionary definitions for puttered

putter1

/ˈpʌtə/
noun (golf)
1.
a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
2.
a golfer who putts

putter2

/ˈpʌtə/
verb
1.
(intransitive;often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
2.
(intransitive;often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or direction: to putter about town
3.
(transitive) usually foll by away. to waste (time)
noun
4.
the act of puttering
Equivalent term (in Britain and certain other countries) potter
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put

putter3

/ˈpʊtə/
noun
1.
a person who puts: the putter of a question
2.
a person who puts the shot
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
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Word Origin and History for puttered

putter

v.

"keep busy in a rather useless way," 1841, originally among farmers, alteration of potter (v.). Related: Puttered; puttering.

n.

late 14c., "beast that pushes with the head," agent noun from put (v.). As a type of golf club used in putting, from 1743; see putt (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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11
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