My sister called me and asked me what I was doing. “I’m just puttering around the house.” Puttering is often how I describe my unstructured activities and I decided to check my new Concise Oxford American Dictionary (which I got at a book fair last week at a bargain price and was well chuffed indeed) and I found this:
“occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant manner, doing a number of small tasks or not concentrating on anything in particular. - move or go in casual unhurried way.”
And that describes perfectly what I was doing. Small tasks like watering the plants, cleaning the cat box, trying to find the flash drive the cat is always knocking off the desk. But when I checked the word at dictionary.com I found this:
“To occupy oneself in an aimless or ineffective manner.”
The Online Etymology Dict. (I wish they would cite resources) has this: “keep busy in a rather useless way” Again, the ineffective business.
Cambridge online has this: “to move about without hurrying and in a relaxed and pleasant way”
It just struck me as odd that American puttering is useless but British puttering is pleasant. I certainly find my puttering useful and pleasant so I guess that even though I’m in the US, I must be puttering Anglo style.
How do y’all putter? (Assuming, of course, that you putter at all)