Definition of puddle in US English:



  • 1A small pool of liquid, especially of rainwater on the ground.

    ‘splashing through deep puddles’
    figurative ‘a little puddle of light’
    • ‘I looked down to see that I was standing in a puddle of liquid that had not been there a minute before.’
    • ‘Amazingly I managed to avoid stepping in any really deep puddles and drowning.’
    • ‘Liquid puddles of god knows what all over the place.’
    • ‘The morning sun shone brightly and its gaze reflected in the morning dew and puddles on the ground.’
    • ‘Suddenly, a puddle of water pooled on the snowy ground, before Haywood's feet.’
    • ‘We can teach them that a puddle of fresh rainwater is unpleasantly wet and cold or that playing in it can be fun.’
    • ‘Rainwater resulted in puddles and kids merrily played with paper boats.’
    • ‘It lay in a puddle of rainwater on the asphalt ground.’
    • ‘He was dripping water onto the ground, and there was a puddle of rain water forming around his feet.’
    • ‘To save their broods, they dig canals between dwindling puddles and deeper pools.’
    • ‘They reached the power supply room to find puddles of blue liquid all over the floor.’
    • ‘Lacy was left lying on the ground, in a puddle of mud, naturally.’
    • ‘We splashed through little puddles and ankle deep bowls.’
    • ‘At one point, he almost slipped in a greasy puddle of liquid.’
    • ‘Lights from above illuminated the puddles of refuse and rain water.’
    • ‘With recent heavy rains the ground is even more saturated now and massive puddles of rainwater cover a large percentage of the site.’
    • ‘The street lights lit up the puddles on the roadsides as if they were pools of liquid light.’
    • ‘The puddles on the ground were opaque and black.’
    • ‘Little children carrying large bags and lunch baskets jump the two feet to the ground from the van, in the mornings, hop over puddles of rainwater, to streak into the classrooms.’
    • ‘From a deep gash in her forehead, blood trickled down the side of her face and along her neck, spilling to the ground to form a small puddle of the red liquid.’
    pool, spill, splash
    View synonyms
  • 2Clay and sand mixed with water and used as a watertight covering for embankments.

    • ‘Can your controller and receiver survive being dunked in a typical construction-site puddle?’
    • ‘This puddle or engineering clay is used extensively for the construction of lakes and ponds and is of excellent quality.’


[with object]
  • 1Wet or cover (a surface) with water, especially rainwater.

    ‘the cobbles under our feet were wet and puddled’
    • ‘And here was a man puddling the ground with his own blood for me!’
    • ‘In the rainy months, a symphony of leaks puddled her floor, though she never cared, plashing through, with a duck's insouciance.’
    • ‘If this land is agreed to be a very important site and should change into an exciting public place, contributing to the listed buildings and the vibrancy of that area, it can't continue as an uneven, puddled car park.’
    • ‘And she is also running from the gods who have changed the sky to fire and puddled the earth with skin and blood.’
    1. 1.1no object (of liquid) form a small pool.
      ‘rivulets of water coursed down the panes, puddling on the sill’
      • ‘Each ring is saturated with different quantities of blood, some thickly puddled and others so faint that the dried liquid clings to the outer circumferences.’
      • ‘The tables had a ravaged look - platters almost empty and puddled with brownish juices, serving spoons staining the linens, parsley sprigs limp and bedraggled.’
      • ‘Watering from the bottom directs the water to the root zone and prevents puddling on the soil surface, which could lead to damping-off.’
      • ‘I enjoyed an article written a couple of years ago about puddling on flat roofs.’
      • ‘I wrung my own dripping locks, water puddling at my black ankle boots.’
      • ‘Prevent makeup from puddling in its tube by storing it in an air-conditioned room or popping it in your fridge.’
      • ‘So many rejected dresses thrown aside as she packed: they floated down to the bed and puddled in chairs after she left the room.’
      • ‘The blood was puddling on the floor, staining the old wooden floorboards, sinking into them permanently and painting them an eerie shade of crimson.’
      • ‘He could feel the blood puddling from the broken wound, soiling his shirt and pants.’
      • ‘The applicator thoroughly soaks each moss spot until it puddles with the mixture by holding the nozzle about 1 inch from the surface.’
      • ‘Do not apply excessive amounts so that the spray puddles on the floors.’
      • ‘Since the water was puddling on the floor near a wall/floor intersection, the consultant initially thought the water might have been coming from below.’
      • ‘Even if the water hasn't puddled, look for regular discoloration of the sand.’
      • ‘Rafe dipped his finger into the blood that had puddled on the floor.’
      • ‘Yellowish wine puddles on the table and drops onto his skirt.’
      • ‘Tears puddled underneath her head on the white butcher paper lining the inspection table, and I hugged her arms and held her head in my hands as I let go of my own emotion and cried in rhythm with her tears.’
      • ‘Mostly because I can't be bothered getting up at 5: 30 to exercise every morning, which is the only time when it's cool enough for me to jog without sweat puddling in my sneakers.’
      • ‘Stones melted like butter, sagging, dripping and puddling.’
      • ‘Applying more than 0.2 inch may result in water puddling or running off the site rather than just wetting the plants and infiltrating into the soil.’
    2. 1.2archaic no object Dabble or wallow in mud or shallow water.
      ‘children are playing and puddling about in the dirt’
      • ‘A place still firmly rooted in old-time Americana, where kids puddle around in the shallows and dogs lap up fallen ice cream cones.’
      • ‘We actually were puddling around in a metre and a half of water, with water up to our chests, coaxing cows along fence lines and onto races and back to safety.’
      • ‘Anyway, my last week of surfing was punctuated by fun puddling about in the small waters of Kuta Beach.’
    3. 1.3puddle around/aboutinformal no object Occupy oneself in a disorganized or unproductive way.
      ‘the Internet is just the latest excuse for puddling around at work’
      • ‘Possibly the global criminal infrastructure would collapse and they would retire to puddling around in their gardens looking after their azaleas.’
      • ‘Started puddling around home as a kid in a Sabot I built.’
      • ‘Some twirled around while others puddled about forcing some of the pedestrians to stop and take note of their revelry.’
      fool about, fool around, play about, play around, fiddle about, fiddle around, amuse oneself, clown about, clown around, footle about, footle around
      View synonyms
  • 2Line (a hole) with puddle.

    • ‘They were constructed with sloping sides, flat bottomed and lined with puddled clay.’
    • ‘Brindley used an old process called puddling which lined the sides and bottom of a canal with clay mixed with water.’
    1. 2.1 Knead (clay and sand) into puddle.
    2. 2.2 Work (mixed water and clay) to separate gold or opal.
      • ‘The prospector then puddled the mixture. This means he placed the pan in flowing water, broke up the clay with his hands and mixed it with the water so that the water washed the clay away.’
      • ‘Some hillsides may have been ‘surfaced’. That is, all the gold bearing gravel and dirt lifted and carried away to be puddled for its gold content.’
    3. 2.3usually as noun puddlinghistorical Stir (molten iron) with iron oxide in a furnace, to produce wrought iron by oxidizing carbon.
      • ‘In the 1780s, Henry Cort developed the puddling furnace, which allowed pig iron to be refined in turn with coke.’
      • ‘In the late 18th cent. the Cranage brothers, Peter Onions, and Henry Cort applied coke to the puddling process in producing bar iron.’


Middle English: diminutive of Old English pudd ‘ditch, furrow’; compare with German dialect Pfudel ‘pool’.