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Potter or Putter

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LibraryLady:
piddle [ˈpɪdəl]
vb
1. (intr) Informal to urinate
2. (when tr, often foll by away) to spend (one's time) aimlessly; fritter
[origin unknown]
piddler  n

Collins English Dictionary Complete and Unabridged HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


I rest my case   ;)   It can be used in both ways.  I also found it used like this in the Merriam Webster Dictionary online; it said the first
use was in 1545 (how do they know so precisely  ??? ).   :)

shadowfox79:

--- Quote from: katycoo on November 21, 2012, 08:09:57 PM ---
--- Quote from: baritone108 on November 21, 2012, 01:25:32 PM ---
--- Quote from: Thipu1 on November 21, 2012, 11:41:26 AM ---'Dithering' refers to useless work that does no good.  A similar term is 'davening'. 

--- End quote ---

I'm not familiar with Davening but Dithering, here, always refers to a verbal action.  Generally it's when someone is trying to say something but stumbling over themselves to get it right and so making no sense.  The frustrated/confused listener would ask, "What are you dithering on about?"

--- End quote ---

It can be both in Australia but physical is more common here.

--- End quote ---

I've never asked someone what they were "dithering on about" but I do tend to associate it with some speech, at least. Such as two lecturers I've worked with who come into the office and take half an hour to ask a question. That's dithering.

Hmmmmm:

--- Quote from: Thipu1 on November 18, 2012, 10:31:03 AM ---'Pottering' or 'puttering' about in the kitchen would both be understood here.  However, we'd be more likely to use 'futzing'.  Any of these terms mean doing trivial tasks such as folding dish towels, rearranging the implement jar or sharpening knives that don't really need sharpening. 

It's the sort of nervous thing that people do when company is expected and all the important work is done. 

'Puttering' always reminds me of the sort of noise that a small engine that isn't yet working makes.  A lawn mower putters before it actually starts mowing.  A motorcycle putters before the ride begins.

--- End quote ---

This.  If I heard or read pottering I'd think some one was making pottery.

amandaelizabeth:
There is also  puttering about, which means using a vehicle of low horse power.  Dithering usually means that you are unable to make a decision about what to do next.  And then of course there is 'blithering' which usually precedes 'idiot'.

squeakers:

--- Quote from: amandaelizabeth on December 05, 2012, 04:15:13 PM ---There is also  puttering about, which means using a vehicle of low horse power.  Dithering usually means that you are unable to make a decision about what to do next.  And then of course there is 'blithering' which usually precedes 'idiot'.

--- End quote ---

Another word: Blathering.. to babble on and on foolishly.  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/blathering has a ton of synonyms like ramble, yap, drivel.

I am guessing which usage one uses depends on where you grew up.  As in what ethnicity was most abundant so their typical word gets into the language the most.  Sometimes in the original language and sometimes in the translated. And then there would be words from your FoO that get passed down (sometimes the words get mispronounced over the years making it difficult to trace what the original word was but knowing the meaning and maybe the native tongue can usually get the correct word.)

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