Definition of putty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpʌti/


[mass noun]
1A soft, malleable greyish-yellow paste, made from ground chalk and raw linseed oil, that hardens after a few hours and is used for sealing glass in window frames and filling holes in wood: countersink the screws so they can be covered with putty [count noun]: the manufacture of paints and putties
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 similar malleable substances used inside and outside buildings, e.g. plumber’s putty, lime putty, or used for modelling or casting, e.g. epoxy putty.
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 jewellery 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: give me a minute until I putty these windows in (as adjective puttied) lightly puttied joints
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: he was putty in her hands from the beginning
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.

up to putty

Australian /NZ informal Worthless or in a mess: the plan is spoilt. Everything is up to putty
More example sentences
  • The plan is spoilt. Everything's up to putty.
  • A Royal Commission had said that they were all "up to putty".
  • Before you know it, he's up to putty with the new school teacher.


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

Words that rhyme with putty

butty, cutty, gutty, nutty, puttee, rutty, smutty
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