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putter1

[puht-er] /ˈpʌt ər/
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.
noun
4.
puttering or ineffective action; dawdling.
Verb phrases
5.
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
1875-1880
1875-80; variant of potter2
Related forms
putterer, noun
putteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for puttering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In this he was not mistaken; Hooker was puttering over his motorcycle by the light of a lantern.

  • It prejudiced Bruce against him as all his puttering had failed to do.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • What he has accomplished makes all my puttering about at what, after all, was pure charity, a puerile sort of service.

    Burned Bridges Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • He was puttering around, making ready to close the place for the night.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • I'm crazy with this puttering around, trying to woo you and having to woo the entire Gilson tribe.

    Free Air Sinclair Lewis
  • Then he spent the rest of the afternoon puttering around the cabin.

    Cat and Mouse Ralph Williams
  • He did not see them, and after puttering about the boat for a few minutes, started off through the woods.

    Saboteurs on the River Mildred A. Wirt
  • He was puttering with his light and meowing to his tabby cat.

    Wappin' Wharf Charles S. Brooks
  • But how can I consistently write upstairs—I am puttering with a novel—with so expensive a din sounding in my ears?

    Hints to Pilgrims Charles Stephen Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for puttering

putter1

/ˈpʌtə/
noun (golf)
1.
a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
2.
a golfer who putts

putter2

/ˈpʌtə/
verb
1.
(intransitive;often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
2.
(intransitive;often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or direction: to putter about town
3.
(transitive) usually foll by away. to waste (time)
noun
4.
the act of puttering
Equivalent term (in Britain and certain other countries) potter
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put

putter3

/ˈpʊtə/
noun
1.
a person who puts: the putter of a question
2.
a person who puts the shot
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
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Word Origin and History for puttering

putter

v.

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

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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