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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
First recorded in 1875-80; variant of potter2
Related forms
putterer, noun
putteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for puttering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was puttering with his light and meowing to his tabby cat.

    Wappin' Wharf Charles S. Brooks
  • It prejudiced Bruce against him as all his puttering had failed to do.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots

    Caroline Lockhart
  • He was puttering around, making ready to close the place for the night.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Then he spent the rest of the afternoon puttering around the cabin.

    Cat and Mouse Ralph Williams
  • Said he'd rather lie in bed for a week than have you puttering around.

    The Promise James B. Hendryx
  • Fancy, it is for my wedding that they are puttering like this!

  • He approached the mechanics who were puttering about the machine.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • If he went upstairs to his bedroom, she'd be up at once, puttering about.

    No Strings Attached Lester del Rey
  • There is absolutely no value in poor, careless, puttering work.

    Handicraft for Girls Idabelle McGlauflin
British Dictionary definitions for puttering

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 puttering

putter

v.

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

putter

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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Word Value for puttering

12
16
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