Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: COLOURS AND SOUNDS

Date: 1800-1900
Origin: potter 'to putter' (16-21 centuries), from pote 'to push' (11-19 centuries), from Old English potian

putter

2 verb
     
putter2 [intransitive always + adverb/preposition]
1 American English also putter around to spend time doing things that are not very important in a relaxed way [= potter British English]
I puttered around for a while, cleaning up the kitchen.
2 American English to walk or move slowly and without hurrying:
A little boy puttered along the sidewalk.
3 British English informalC to make the low sound that a vehicle makes when it is moving slowly:
A motor boat puttered by.
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