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putty1

[puht-ee]
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noun, plural put·ties.
  1. a compound of whiting and linseed oil, of a doughlike consistency when fresh, used to secure windowpanes, patch woodwork defects, etc.
  2. any of various other compounds used for similar purposes.
  3. any of various substances for sealing the joints of tubes or pipes, composed of linseed oil with red lead, white lead, iron oxide, etc.
  4. a creamy mixture of lime and water, partially dried and mixed with sand and plaster of Paris to make a finish plaster coat.
  5. putty powder.
  6. any person or thing easily molded, influenced, etc.: We were putty in his hands.
  7. light brownish- or yellowish-gray.
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verb (used with object), put·tied, put·ty·ing.
  1. to secure, cover, etc., with putty.
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Idioms
  1. up to putty, Australian Slang. worthless or useless.
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Origin of putty1

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

putty2

[puht-ee]
noun, plural put·ties.
  1. puttee.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

manageablelimberspongymalleablepliantdocileflexiblesuppleadhesiveplastermudsandsizegumconcretebinderbondsoldergluepaste

Examples from the Web for putty

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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.

    Chance

    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

putty

noun plural -ties
  1. 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
  2. any substance with a similar consistency, function, or appearance
  3. a mixture of lime and water with sand or plaster of Paris used on plaster as a finishing coat
  4. (as modifier)a putty knife
  5. See putty powder
  6. 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
  7. up to putty Australian informal worthless or useless
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verb -ties, -tying or -tied
  1. (tr) to fix, fill, or coat with putty
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Word Origin

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

n.

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.

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v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper