noun, plural put·ties.

verb (used with object), put·tied, put·ty·ing.

to secure, cover, etc., with putty.


    up to putty, Australian Slang. worthless or useless.

Origin of putty

First recorded in 1625–35, putty is from the French word potée, literally, (something) potted. See pot1, -ee
Related formsun·put·tied, adjective



noun, plural put·ties.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for putty

Contemporary Examples of putty

Historical Examples of putty

  • They are putty in the hands of the fears and forces that beset them from without.

  • While the putty is drying the spray-hood or turtle-deck can be made.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • Be careful not to dig into a soft place in the compound with the putty knife.

  • Chips was there the whole afternoon on his knees, messing with putty and red-lead.


    Joseph Conrad

  • Know how and when to putty up nail holes and uneven surfaces.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

British Dictionary definitions for putty


noun plural -ties

a stiff paste made of whiting and linseed oil that is used to fix glass panes into frames and to fill cracks or holes in woodwork, etc
any substance with a similar consistency, function, or appearance
a mixture of lime and water with sand or plaster of Paris used on plaster as a finishing coat
(as modifier)a putty knife
a person who is easily influenced or persuadedhe's putty in her hands
  1. a colour varying from a greyish-yellow to a greyish-brown or brownish-grey
  2. (as adjective)putty-coloured
up to putty Australian informal worthless or useless

verb -ties, -tying or -tied

(tr) to fix, fill, or coat with putty

Word Origin for putty

C17: from French potée a potful
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 putty

1630s, "type of plasterer's cement," from French potée "polishing powder" (12c.), originally "pot-full, contents of a pot," from Old French pot "container" (see pot (n.1)). Meaning "soft mixture for sealing window panes" first recorded 1706. Figurative use in reference to one easily influenced is from 1924. Putty knife attested from 1834.


1734, from putty (n.). Related: Puttied; puttying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper