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putter

1
[puht-er]
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 putter

1
First recorded in 1875–80; variant of potter2
Related formsput·ter·er, nounput·ter·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for puttered

loiter, niggle, poke, mess, doodle, puddle, tinker, fiddle, fritter, potter

Examples from the Web for puttered

Historical Examples of puttered

  • Susan puttered about for a few minutes longer, then crossed to the reception room, intending to go up-stairs.

    The Million Dollar Mystery

    Harold MacGrath

  • Joe returned to the house, and puttered around until supper was ready.

  • Mrs. Lear did not follow them upstairs immediately, but puttered about the kitchen preparing herself a midnight snack.

  • Nurse Nannie puttered about the room for some time, picking up things, and laying out the girls' clothes for the next day.

    Marjorie at Seacote

    Carolyn Wells

  • Instead of the usual two-hour run to Southampton, we puttered along and did not arrive until after one.


British Dictionary definitions for puttered

putter

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

2
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 for putter

C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put

putter

3
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 puttered

putter

v.

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

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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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper