Definition of putty in English:


Syllabification: put·ty
Pronunciation: /ˈpətē


  • 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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] Back to top  
  • Seal or cover (something) with putty.
    More 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.
More 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'.

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Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little