noun Western U.S. and Canada.

an isolated hill or mountain rising abruptly above the surrounding land.

Origin of butte

1650–60, Americanism; < North American French; French: low hill, mound, Old French: landmark, target, apparently feminine derivative of but butt2
Can be confusedbeaut butte Butte




a city in SW Montana: mining center.
Can be confusedbeaut butte Butte
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for butte

Contemporary Examples of butte

Historical Examples of butte

  • The lawyer left them at the next station to wait for a train back to Butte.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Really, Miss Della, she's the most famous cow in Butte, just now.

  • She followed cautiously, and under a butte far from the Hen she found Jake's camp.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

  • And Peabody he writes to his lawyer friend in Butte, Montana.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • You see, our train is going on a line with that butte behind us and the sun.

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for butte



Western US and Canadian an isolated steep-sided flat-topped hill

Word Origin for butte

C19: from French, from Old French bute mound behind a target, from but target; see butt ²
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 butte

1805, American English, from French butte, from Old French but "mound, knoll" (see butt (n.3)). A French word introduced in Lewis & Clark's journals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

butte in Science



A steep-sided hill with a flat top, often standing alone in an otherwise flat area. A butte is smaller than a mesa.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.