Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[puht-er] /ˈpʌt ər/
verb (used without object)
to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner:
to putter in the garden.
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.
to move or go slowly or aimlessly; loiter.
puttering or ineffective action; dawdling.
Verb phrases
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
First recorded in 1875-80; variant of potter2
Related forms
putterer, noun
putteringly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for puttered
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • Joe returned to the house, and puttered around until supper was ready.

  • 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
  • Instead of the usual two-hour run to Southampton, we puttered along and did not arrive until after one.

  • We were both shy as we put our clothes on and puttered around the room, looking away, not meeting each other's eyes.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • He puttered continually over his collection, which had grown enormously over the eight year period.

    The Colonists Raymond F. Jones
British Dictionary definitions for puttered


noun (golf)
a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
a golfer who putts


(intransitive;often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
(intransitive;often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or direction: to putter about town
(transitive) usually foll by away. to waste (time)
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


a person who puts: the putter of a question
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for puttered



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



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for putter

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for puttered

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for puttered