Author Topic: Potter or Putter  (Read 9551 times)

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Margo

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2013, 03:03:49 PM »
Fascinating thread!

Ditherering to me has a definite connotation of indecisiveness and/or time wasting - I think of it at physical more than verbal
I potter rather than putter.

I might also do a bit of faffing about (I'd see faffing as having a flavour of wasting time /aimlessness, whereas pottering would be unhurried but not necessarily aimless)

Blithering I have only come across as a emphasis to idiot "The man's a blithering idiot" - blather is, as amandaelizabeth says, rambling on - foolishly or repetitively.

Piddle to me is what puppies and very small children do (although more robustly (if I can use it without upsetting the filters) 'pissing about' means wasting time, messing around - If I heard someone talk about someone 'piddling about' I'd think they were using it as a euphemism for 'pissing about'.

I drive over the river Piddle fairly regularly.

Stormtreader

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2013, 05:10:09 AM »
Dithering to me is when youve been stressed over something like a party and cant make some teeny decision, like dithering over which flavour of cupcakes to buy - either would be fine but you just cant decide.

scotcat60

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2013, 05:03:59 AM »
Have just come across the word "QUIDDLE" in my old 1936 dictionary, to do a series of pointless, time-wasting jobs. Different then form pottering, when the jobs need to be done.

cwm

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2013, 11:26:21 AM »
I'm in the midwest, I putter about the house completely aimlessly. Cars putter along the road.

Dithering to me is a mental thing. You dither about whether to wear the red shirt with the black pumps or the black dress with the ballet flats when you go out at night.

Futzing, to me, is unnecessarily messing with. For example, if I'm puttering about, I might fold a few towels, go to wash a few dishes, just basically wander around aimlessly doing random things for a tiny bit before moving on to something else. If I was futzing about the towels, I'd unfold all of the towels in the house just to get them right.

Shea

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2013, 08:11:42 AM »
Grew up in the US Pacific Northwest, now live in Quebec. I'd use "putter" and "potter" interchangeably, but I can't recollect anyone ever using the terms around me where I live now, so I'm not sure what the more common term is here.


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jaxsue

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #50 on: October 26, 2013, 07:48:35 PM »
If someone is really obsessing about things that don't mean much we say, 'Stop Davening over it'.

'Davening' is a Jewish term.  Many people won't recognize the term but most who have studied hard for a test have 'davened' whether they know it or not.   When you're studying hard you may start to rock slightly back and forth.  That's Davening. 

It's a very precise term for someone who is worrying about tiny little things that no one will notice.

I live near NYC and have a large number of Jewish friends. They use that word a lot. I like it.  :)

ETA: some of my friends are observant, some are not. Either way, rest assured that I don't use any words disrespectfully.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 07:54:05 PM by jaxsue »

Eeep!

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #51 on: October 27, 2013, 01:37:35 AM »
I'm in the midwest, I putter about the house completely aimlessly. Cars putter along the road.

Dithering to me is a mental thing. You dither about whether to wear the red shirt with the black pumps or the black dress with the ballet flats when you go out at night.

Futzing, to me, is unnecessarily messing with. For example, if I'm puttering about, I might fold a few towels, go to wash a few dishes, just basically wander around aimlessly doing random things for a tiny bit before moving on to something else. If I was futzing about the towels, I'd unfold all of the towels in the house just to get them right.

I am in CA but these are pretty much my definitions too so thanks!

Myself, however, I am prone to frittering. I fritter my day away frequently.
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baglady

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #52 on: October 28, 2013, 05:18:03 AM »
Northeastern U.S. here. If I'm puttering, I'm doing little minor tasks around the house, like tidying up, disposing of the junk mail, etc.

Dithering has an anxiety component. If I'm faced with a bunch of tasks but not sure which one to tackle, I'm dithering. It is possible to dither and get nothing done.

Futzing I think of as a euphemism for another word that starts with f-u and ends in -ing and is synonymous with goofing off. "I spent the evening futzing around on the computer."

Never heard "potter" as a verb. It's someone who works with clay. Or Harry's last name.
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jedikaiti

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #53 on: October 28, 2013, 04:40:22 PM »
US, Colorado.  I have seen pottering about in books, but have only ever heard puttering (or futzing, as someone else mentioned).

Likewise. I prefer futzing, may have seen pottering in a book or two, but puttering is more common IME.
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Another Sarah

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #54 on: October 29, 2013, 01:45:17 PM »
Do any other brits know the term putter about as driving in a tiny car? (the type where the engine goes putputput instead of vroom)

That's how I heard the term - maybe thats a lancashire thing

Eeep!

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #55 on: October 29, 2013, 03:35:11 PM »
Do any other brits know the term putter about as driving in a tiny car? (the type where the engine goes putputput instead of vroom)

That's how I heard the term - maybe thats a lancashire thing

I am in California, but I know it that way too.  You can also putter around in a golf cart or something similar. :)
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Blondie

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2013, 08:36:39 AM »
Do any other brits know the term putter about as driving in a tiny car? (the type where the engine goes putputput instead of vroom)

That's how I heard the term - maybe thats a lancashire thing

I am in California, but I know it that way too.  You can also putter around in a golf cart or something similar. :)

That's interesting- NY born and bred here and I have always heard it in reference to cars of any size, but mainly in terms of speed- One would putter around town, but not on a highway. It has some element of laziness, perhaps taking ones time running errands. Then again, I have also really only heard it used by an older generation- my 94 year old grandmother talks about puttering her way around the town on the way to the grocery store.
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nolechica

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2013, 04:46:16 PM »
Putter, also futzing doesn't exist here, the term used won't pass censors.  Dithering is personal and davening would be obsessing. All of these though are terms mothers and grandmothers use to scold/chide so I seldom use them.

jedikaiti

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2013, 10:27:17 PM »
Putter, also futzing doesn't exist here, the term used won't pass censors.  Dithering is personal and davening would be obsessing. All of these though are terms mothers and grandmothers use to scold/chide so I seldom use them.

I always took "dithering" to imply a bit of agitation and confusion.
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Thipu1

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Re: Potter or Putter
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2013, 11:44:21 AM »
Puttering implies that small chores are actually being accomplished.  I've also heard it used for driving around on errands. Again, small tasks are being accomplished without a sense of urgency.     

Dithering implies indecision.  It's like the proverbial donkey caught between two bales of hay and unable to decide which to eat first.  My Aunt Loretta described the family on the day of her DD's Wedding as 'Running around like chickens with their hats off'. 

That's dithering. 

A perfect musical example of dithering is the overture to 'The Marriage of Figaro'.