See more synonyms for butler on Thesaurus.com
  1. the chief male servant of a household, usually in charge of serving food, the care of silverware, etc.
  2. a male servant having charge of the wines and liquors.

Origin of butler

1250–1300; Middle English buteler < Anglo-French butuiller, Old French bouteillier; see bottle1, -er2, -ier2
Related formsbut·ler·like, adjectivebut·ler·ship, nounun·der·but·ler, noun


  1. Benjamin Franklin,1818–93, U.S. politician and a Union general in the Civil War.
  2. Joseph,1692–1752, English bishop, theologian, and author.
  3. Nicholas Murray,1862–1947, U.S. educator: president of Columbia University 1902–45; Nobel Peace Prize 1931.
  4. Pierce,1866–1939, U.S. jurist: associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1923–39.
  5. Samuel,1612–80, English poet.
  6. Samuel,1835–1902, English novelist, essayist, and satirist.
  7. Smedley Dar·ling·ton [smed-lee dahr-ling-tuh n] /ˈsmɛd li ˈdɑr lɪŋ tən/, 1881–1940, U.S. Marine Corps general.
  8. a city in W Pennsylvania.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for butler

man, steward, valet, manservant

Examples from the Web for butler

Contemporary Examples of butler

Historical Examples of butler

  • Mr. Milbrey glanced at the two shells of the orange which the butler was then removing.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • She knew the butler's life history two days after she had ceased to be afraid of him.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The entrance of the butler brought the Inspector's thoughts back to the matter in hand.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • To be sure; but she was then called Mrs. Butler—just as pretty a name to my fancy.

  • Dutton was son to a man who had lived as butler in Mowbray's family.

British Dictionary definitions for butler


  1. the male servant of a household in charge of the wines, table, etc: usually the head servant

Word Origin for butler

C13: from Old French bouteillier, from bouteille bottle 1


  1. Joseph . 1692–1752, English bishop and theologian, author of Analogy of Religion (1736)
  2. Josephine (Elizabeth). 1828–1906, British social reformer, noted esp for her campaigns against state regulation of prostitution
  3. Reg, full name Reginald Cotterell Butler . 1913–81, British metal sculptor; his works include The Unknown Political Prisoner (1953)
  4. R (ichard) A (usten), Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, known as Rab Butler . 1902–82, British Conservative politician: Chancellor of the Exchequer (1951–55); Home Secretary (1957–62); Foreign Secretary (1963–64)
  5. Samuel . 1612–80, English poet and satirist; author of Hudibras (1663–78)
  6. Samuel . 1835–1902, British novelist, noted for his satirical work Erewhon (1872) and his autobiographical novel The Way of All Flesh (1903)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for butler

late 12c., from Anglo-French buteillier "cup-bearer," from Old French boteillier "cup-bearer, butler, officer in charge of wine," from boteille "wine vessel, bottle" (see bottle (n.)). The word reflects the position's original function as "chief servant in charge of wine." In Old French, fem. boteilliere was used of the Virgin Mary as "dispenser" of the cup of Mercy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper