- to busy or occupy oneself in a leisurely, casual, or ineffective manner: to putter in the garden.
- 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.
- to move or go slowly or aimlessly; loiter.
- puttering or ineffective action; dawdling.
- putter away, to spend or fill in a random, inconsequential, or unproductive way; fritter away; waste: We puttered the morning away.
Also especially British, potter.
Origin of putter1
First recorded in 1875–80; variant of potter2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for puttering
People—several of them bare-footed—were wearing flannel pajamas, puttering around in the chilly weather, preparing for bed.Canoodling at Wall Street
October 19, 2011
He was puttering with his light and meowing to his tabby cat.Wappin' Wharf
Charles S. Brooks
It prejudiced Bruce against him as all his puttering had failed to do.The Man from the Bitter Roots
He was puttering around, making ready to close the place for the night.Blow The Man Down
Then he spent the rest of the afternoon puttering around the cabin.Cat and Mouse
Said he'd rather lie in bed for a week than have you puttering around.The Promise
James B. Hendryx
- a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
- a golfer who putts
- (intr; often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
- (intr; often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or directionto putter about town
- (tr usually foll by away) to waste (time)
- the act of puttering
Equivalent term (in Britain and certain other countries): potter
C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put
- a person who putsthe putter of a question
- a person who puts the shot
Word Origin and History for puttering
"keep busy in a rather useless way," 1841, originally among farmers, alteration of potter (v.). Related: Puttered; puttering.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper