or putt-putt

[ puht-puht, -puht ]

  1. the sound made by a small internal-combustion engine or imitative of its operation.

  2. Informal. a small internal-combustion engine, or something, as a boat or model airplane, equipped with one: the sound of distant put-puts on the lake.

verb (used without object),put-put·ted, put-put·ting.
  1. Informal. to operate with sounds suggesting a put-put, as a small motor or motor-driven device.

Origin of put-put

First recorded in 1900–05; imitative

Words Nearby put-put

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use put-put in a sentence

  • Madge was closing the doors for the night when she heard the faint put-put of a motor boat, far out on the lake.

    The Missing Formula | Mildred A. Wirt, AKA Ann Wirt
  • Before Grandpa Davis had time to reply, there came the "put-put-put" which signals possible danger.

  • When Tom was within a few miles of his own boathouse he heard behind him the "put-put" of a motor craft.

  • Then he became aware of a faint and intermittent throb—put-put (pause) put (pause), put-put-put!

    The Rules of the Game | Stewart Edward White
  • Pretty soon I heard the put-put of that scooter and along came the ice-cream man.

    The Blue Ghost Mystery | Harold Leland Goodwin

British Dictionary definitions for put-put


/ (ˈpʌtˌpʌt) informal /

  1. a light chugging or popping sound, as made by a petrol engine

  2. a vehicle powered by an engine making such a sound

verb-puts, -putting or -putted
  1. (intr) to make or travel along with such a sound

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