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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.
A very malleable or biddable person or persons: they'll be putty and do exactly what you want (as they should) (1924+)
cementing material made of whiting (finely powdered calcium carbonate) and boiled linseed oil. It is beaten or kneaded to the consistency of dough and is used to secure sheets of glass in sashes, to stop crevices in woodwork, and to fill nail holes. Whiting putty of a high grade consists of 85 to 90 percent whiting blended with 10 to 15 percent boiled linseed oil. White-lead whiting putty has an admixture of 10 percent white lead, reducing the amount of whiting proportionately. Prepared putty should roll freely in the hands without exuding oil. Synthetic glazing and filling compounds have supplanted putty in many applications