puttering away


1 [puht-er]
verb (used without object)
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.
Verb phrases
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.

1875–80; variant of potter2

putterer, noun
putteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
putter1 (ˈpʌtə)
1.  a club for putting, usually having a solid metal head
2.  a golfer who putts

putter2 (ˈpʌtə)
vb (usually foll by away)
1.  (intr;often foll by about or around) to busy oneself in a desultory though agreeable manner
2.  (intr;often foll by along or about) to move with little energy or direction: to putter about town
3.  to waste (time)
4.  the act of puttering
[C16 (in the sense: to poke repeatedly): from Old English potian to thrust; see put]

putter3 (ˈpʊtə)
1.  a person who puts: the putter of a question
2.  a person who puts the shot

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"keep busy in a rather useless way," 1877 alteration of potter (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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