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[puht-ee] /ˈpʌt i/


[puht-ee] /ˈpʌt i/
noun, plural putties.
a compound of whiting and linseed oil, of a doughlike consistency when fresh, used to secure windowpanes, patch woodwork defects, etc.
any of various other compounds used for similar purposes.
any of various substances for sealing the joints of tubes or pipes, composed of linseed oil with red lead, white lead, iron oxide, etc.
a creamy mixture of lime and water, partially dried and mixed with sand and plaster of Paris to make a finish plaster coat.
any person or thing easily molded, influenced, etc.:
We were putty in his hands.
light brownish- or yellowish-gray.
verb (used with object), puttied, puttying.
to secure, cover, etc., with putty.
up to putty, Australian Slang. worthless or useless.
Origin of putty1
1625-35; < French potée, literally, (something) potted. See pot1, -ee
Related forms
unputtied, adjective


[puht-ee] /ˈpʌt i/
noun, plural putties.
1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for putties
Historical Examples
  • As we were not supposed to remove even our putties except for bathing, or washing clothes, the pool was soon working overtime.

  • I could wish that she did not wrap her putties, one from the inside out, and the other from the outside in.

    Maw's Vacation Emerson Hough
  • The putties were immaculately entwined around his legs—in short the tout ensemble was decidedly smart and soldier-like.

    A Yeoman's Letters P. T. Ross
  • Nobody took any clothes off, with the exception of boots and putties.

  • By the time the sun was up they were fed by their sister battalion, the 2nd, and had begun to unwind their putties.

    Story of the War in South Africa Captain A. T. Mahan, U.S.N.
  • Some wore shabby khaki jackets and trousers, others flannel shirts and long boots or putties.

    South African Memories Lady Sarah Wilson
  • At a signal they started to collect driftwood and build it into rafts, tying the logs together with their puggris and putties.

    Life in an Indian Outpost Gordon Casserly
  • That wound he at once bound up with one of his putties, but for two hours was unable to stir from the place where he fell.

  • I dare say he could get whatever you want, and I should advise you to buy a suit of khaki and a pair of putties.

    With Rifle and Bayonet F.S. Brereton
  • Lisle took off his tunic, putties, and boots; and the Sikh also stripped himself to his loincloth, in which he placed his bayonet.

British Dictionary definitions for putties


noun (pl) -ties
a stiff paste made of whiting and linseed oil that is used to fix glass panes into frames and to fill cracks or holes in woodwork, etc
any substance with a similar consistency, function, or appearance
a mixture of lime and water with sand or plaster of Paris used on plaster as a finishing coat
(as modifier): a putty knife
a person who is easily influenced or persuaded: he's putty in her hands
  1. a colour varying from a greyish-yellow to a greyish-brown or brownish-grey
  2. (as adjective): putty-coloured
(Austral, informal) up to putty, worthless or useless
verb -ties, -tying, -tied
(transitive) to fix, fill, or coat with putty
Word Origin
C17: from French potée a potful
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 putties



1630s, "type of plasterer's cement," from French potée "polishing powder" (12c.), originally "pot-full, contents of a pot," from Old French pot "container" (see pot (n.1)). Meaning "soft mixture for sealing window panes" first recorded 1706. Figurative use in reference to one easily influenced is from 1924. Putty knife attested from 1834.


1734, from putty (n.). Related: Puttied; puttying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for putties



A very malleable or biddable person or persons: they'll be putty and do exactly what you want (as they should) (1924+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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