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Potter or Putter

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I have only heard "putter around".


--- Quote from: Thipu1 on November 18, 2012, 09:31:03 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 ---

Yes, futzing happens here too!  ;D It can be the nervous trivial tasks, or it can be wasting your whole day doing things that really aren't important but make you feel accomplished!

US, Colorado.  I have seen pottering about in books, but have only ever heard puttering (or futzing, as someone else mentioned). 

I've only ever known Brits to potter.

"to busy oneself in a busy or ineffective way" is the second definition of "putter" in Webster's Newworld Dictionary 1985. I'm too lazy to look in my 1962. This was published in the US, and have always lived in the central US.

I'm equally comfortable with both 'putter' and 'potter', among other words for the same sort of activity.


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