putty in someone's hands


A person who is easily influenced or malleable, as in Dean adored his little granddaughter; he was putty in her hands. This metaphoric term, first recorded in 1924, transfers the malleable quality of putty to human behavior. Also see twist around one's finger.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.