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putter1

[puht-er]
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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.
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noun
  1. puttering or ineffective action; dawdling.
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Verb Phrases
  1. putter away, to spend or fill in a random, inconsequential, or unproductive way; fritter away; waste: We puttered the morning away.
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Also especially British, potter.

Origin of putter1

First recorded in 1875–80; variant of potter2
Related formsput·ter·er, nounput·ter·ing·ly, adverb

putter2

[puht-er]
noun Golf.
  1. a person who putts.
  2. a club with a relatively short, stiff shaft and a wooden or iron head, used in putting.
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Origin of putter2

First recorded in 1735–45; putt + -er1

putter3

[poo t-er]
noun
  1. a person or thing that puts.
  2. Track. a shot-putter.
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Origin of putter3

First recorded in 1810–20; put + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for putter

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The devilish thing about you inventors is that you putter so.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • "Oh, that's all right," she said carelessly, throwing her putter to the boy.

    Ravensdene Court

    J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher

  • Seems's if he loved to putter about 'n' fool with things in a room, like women.

    A Philanthropist

    Josephine Daskam

  • Her next boy, Ben, worked with his father in the pit, as a putter.

    Taking Tales

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Dick was now becoming a biggish boy, and he hoped soon to be made a putter.

    Taking Tales

    W.H.G. Kingston


British Dictionary definitions for putter

putter1

noun golf
  1. a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
  2. a golfer who putts
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putter2

verb
  1. (intr; often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
  2. (intr; often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or directionto putter about town
  3. (tr usually foll by away) to waste (time)
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noun
  1. the act of puttering
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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

noun
  1. a person who putsthe putter of a question
  2. a person who puts the shot
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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 putter

v.

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

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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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper