Putz Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Have you ever heard of the word putz? 

This word is not normally used in a kind way, and in some cases, it can be quite derogatory. Nevertheless, the word can liven up your language and your writing, adding some interest and color.

So, today’s word of the day is putz. After reading this complete guide to the word putz, you’ll be familiar with its definitions, its history, and how to use it in your life. 

This interesting and comical word is about to become a tool in your vocabulary arsenal, so let’s get started.

What Is the Definition of Putz?

The word putz (pronounced pʌts) actually has a few different definitions and forms. The word can be used as a noun with two separate meanings, and it can also be a verb with its own definition. Here are the definitions of the word putz. 

Putz as a Noun 

  • Someone who is considered to be stupid; an insult given to someone deemed worthless because of their stupidity; a stupid person
  • A vulgar slang term for a penis

Putz as a Verb

  • To engage in an activity that is unhelpful, meaningless, or a waste of time 

As you can see, the word putz is generally not used in a very positive way. Many times, it is used as an insult. But it carries a powerful emotional effect with it, and it can be used with great effect in writing and language. 

Because it’s such a harsh word with strong consonants, it almost sounds like an onomatopoeia, making it poignant and pointed. It is effectively used as an insult under each of its different definitions. 

As a verb, it refers to stupid, dumb, or daft behavior. In particular, it refers to stupid behavior that will waste time. If you’re mulling about in an idle manner, somebody could say you are putzing about. 

The different definitions for this word can be confusing, and oftentimes its meaning can only be properly understood in context. 

Where Did the Word Putz Come From?

The etymology of the word putz is relatively simple. It’s actually quite a new word in the English language, and its usage has increased quite a bit in the past several decades. 

The word putz comes from the Yiddish language. Yiddish is a language that is typically spoken by European Jews. It is written in the Hebrew alphabet and merges parts of German, Hebrew, and Aramaic into one tongue.

In Yiddish, the word putz has a bit of a mysterious origin. We know that it is one of the obscene terms for penis in Yiddish, alongside schmuck. 

The Yiddish puts (פּאָץ) is not related to the German putz nor to the German putzen. In German, the word putz means “plaster,” and putzen means “to clean.”  

It is possible that the word putz shares an association with the German word butzen. This was an early modern German word that meant “to decorate,” so the word putz can refer to frivolous, fluff activity that serves to purpose but to look like you’re doing something.

The putz, as found in the English dictionary, is a derivative of the Yiddish word, but it did not come into English until the middle of the 20th century as the Jewish population in English-speaking countries grew. They share their definition, meaning “penis,” and, over time, the word evolved into an insult referring to a stupid person and then into a verb meaning to do meaningless things. 

What Are Some Example Sentences for Putz?

Here are some examples of the word putz being used in a sentence. There are multiple sentences for each of the various definitions of the word. 

Putz: A Stupid Person

  • I don’t want him in the group project. He’s such a putz! He’ll make everything harder on the rest of us. 
  • My putz of a roommate just can’t get it through his thick skull that he needs to hang up his dirty, wet towel once he’s done using it. 
  • I’m sorry I forgot to fold the laundry! I’m such a putz.
  • I know she’s all done up in fancy finery and jewelry, but she’s a real putz when you get to know her.
  • He’s absent-minded and can never remember anything you tell him. He’s an all-around putz.

Putz: Vulgar Slang for Penis

  • His shorts were so short that I could see the end of his putz hanging out! 
  • He was so drunk and needed to go so bad that he whipped out his putz and started peeing on the side of the road. 

Putz: To Do Meaningless Things

  • Quit putzing around and help us decorate the Christmas tree and put up the nativity!
  • You can’t just putz over to any random house and TP it. It has to be somebody you know. 
  • If you putz around any longer, we’re going to be late for the party.
  • I wouldn’t count on Tim to be on time. He’s well known for putzing about.

What Are Some Synonyms for Putz?

Here are some synonyms for each of the definitions of putz. 

Putz: A Stupid Person (Synonyms)

  • Dingus
  • Fool
  • Moron
  • Idiot
  • Twit
  • Nitwit
  • Bonehead
  • Blockhead
  • Buffoon

Putz: Slang for Penis (Synonyms)

  • Schmuck 
  • Pecker
  • Prick 
  • Wood
  • Manhood
  • Dick
  • Cock

Putz: To Do Meaningless Things

  • Putter around
  • Dilly dally
  • Meander
  • Traipse
  • Meander
  • Mope
  • Linger
  • Dawdle
  • Mosey
  • Saunter

What Are Some Antonyms for Putz?

Below are some antonyms for the different definitions of putz.

Putz: A Stupid Person (Antonym)

  • Intellectual
  • Brain
  • Mastermind
  • Highbrow
  • Prodigy

Putz: To Do Meaningless Things

  • Hurry 
  • Leave 
  • Rush
  • Hasten
  • Speed

A Full Understanding of Putz

The word putz is quite an interesting one. It’s a great example of how the English language adapts and takes influence and words from various other languages. And now you have a solid understanding of the word putz, its meanings, its etymology, and how to use it in your writing and conversation. 

If you ever need a refresher on the word putz, just come back to this article for the information you need. 


PUTZ | Cambridge English Dictionary 

Yiddish language | Britannica

putz | Jewish English Lexicon