A metaphor likening the easy malleability of putty to the easy manipulability of the person.
putty in someone's hands (uncountable)
- (idiomatic, of a person) One who is readily manipulated or controlled by another person; a puppet.
- 1894 May 27, Harold Frederic, "Marsena," New York Times, p. 19 (retrieved 27 July 2010):
- Why, Marseny, here, he wan't no more than so much putty in her hands.
- 1941 Dec. 11, "Caroline Chatfield Says," St. Petersburg Times, p. 17 (retrieved 27 July 2010):
- So long as she behaves in a way to keep his love and respect he's putty in her hands.
- 2007 Aug. 5, Kitty Empire, "Nothing compares 2 Prince," guardian.co.uk (retrieved 27 July 2010):
- [H]e clocks on at 8.30 pm with the opening guitar notes of his most famous song, ‘Purple Rain’. Everyone is instantly putty in his hands.
a person easily manipulated