Definition of putty in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpədē/


1A soft, malleable, grayish-yellow paste, made from whiting and raw linseed oil, that hardens after a few hours and is used chiefly for sealing glass panes in wooden window frames.
Example sentences
  • You can fill in nail holes with wood putty before sanding if you are not planning to stain the wood.
  • When dry, fill the nail holes with a non-oily wood filler for natural finishes, or putty if the wood is to be painted.
  • Spackle is a soft, white, premixed material that's about the consistency of soft putty.
1.1 [usually with modifier] Any of a number of malleable substances similar to putty used inside and outside buildings, e.g., plumber’s putty, or used for modeling or casting.
Example sentences
  • Apply a bead of plumber's putty (not caulk) on the underside of the flange on the drain to seal it with the sink.
  • The mortar mix used for the vintage building consisted of a Portland cement-slacked lime putty created by mixing cement and lime.
  • The basket strainer should be packed with plumber's putty and pushed firmly down into place.
2A polishing powder, usually made from tin oxide, used in jewelry work.
Example sentences
  • Polishing on a brush wheel with putty powder retained the crispness and grain marks of the stone wheels.

verb (putties, puttying, puttied)

[with object]
Seal or cover (something) with putty.
Example sentences
  • Fastener locations are often easy to find, even if the nail heads have been puttied over.
  • These ships leave a small gap between the old jamb and the new strip, which can be puttied and painted to match.
  • The masonry surface may need to be prepared by sandblasting, application of a primer, and puttying.


be (like) putty in someone's hands

Be easily manipulated or dominated by someone.
Example sentences
  • One whiff of her ‘Midnight in Sorrento’ perfume and they were like putty in her hands.
  • No one could call it a fast-moving film, but I was putty in its hands.
  • But even formidable Marjory is putty in Rosemary 's hands.


Mid 17th century: from French potée, literally 'potful', from pot 'pot'.

Words that rhyme with putty

butty, cutty, gutty, nutty, puttee, rutty, smutty
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.