• synonyms


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.
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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.
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Origin of put-put

First recorded in 1900–05; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for put-put

Historical Examples of put-put

  • Suddenly, as Tom looked, he heard the "put-put" of a motor-boat.

    Tom Swift and his Motor-cycle

    Victor Appleton

  • These were the records of the put-put broadcast which she and Danny had kept.

  • Why does n't Papa come in and say he is going to give me put-put?

  • Only the put-put of the motor, rapidly dying away, remained of him.

    Facing the German Foe

    Colonel James Fiske

  • The put-put of the motor had aroused the Germans to what was going on.

    The Belgians to the Front

    Colonel James Fiske

British Dictionary definitions for put-put


  1. a light chugging or popping sound, as made by a petrol engine
  2. a vehicle powered by an engine making such a sound
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verb -puts, -putting or -putted
  1. (intr) to make or travel along with such a sound
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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

Word Origin and History for put-put

indicating the sound of a muffled internal combustion engine, 1904, imitative.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper