Putty in one’s hands

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Putty in one’s hands is an idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common saying putty in one’s hands, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Putty in one’s hands is an idiom that describes someone who is easily manipulated, someone who is easily influenced or controlled. The expression may be rendered as a metaphor, as in he is putty in my hands, or as a simile, as in he is like putty in my hands. The expression putty in one’s hands came into popular use in the 1920s but its use skyrocketed at the end of the twentieth century. Putty is a glazing compound that is most often used to seal window panes; it is easily moldable. Putty is a mixture of finely ground chalk and linseed oil.


“I wooed her for months, she didn’t want to know but when I took her to see a punk band she was putty in my hands.” (Belfast Telegraph)

“So when people returned my hate with hate of their own, they were literally putty in my hands.” (Daily Nebraskan)

Finally, if I say “You were right and I was wrong “ a few times, she’s like putty in my hands. (Naples Daily News)