verb (used with object)
- butter bean,
- butter brickle,
- butter clam,
- butter cookie,
- butter knife
Origin of butter
- an edible fatty whitish-yellow solid made from cream by churning, for cooking and table use
- (as modifier)butter icing Related adjective: butyraceous
Word Origin for butter
Old English butere "butter," general West Germanic (cf. Old Frisian, Old High German butera, German Butter, Dutch boter), an early loan-word from Latin butyrum "butter" (source of Italian burro, Old French burre, French beurre), from Greek boutyron, perhaps literally "cow-cheese," from bous "ox, cow" (see cow (n.)) + tyros "cheese;" but this might be a folk etymology of a Scythian word.
The product was used from an early date in India, Iran and northern Europe, but not in ancient Greece and Rome. Herodotus described it (along with cannabis) among the oddities of the Scythians. Butter-knife attested from 1818.
Old English buterian "spread butter on," from the same source as butter (n.). Figurative meaning "to flatter lavishly" is by 1798 (with up (adv.), in Connelly's Spanish-English dictionary, p.413). Related: Buttered; buttering.
Excessively praise or flatter someone, usually to gain a favor. For example, If you butter up Dad, he'll let you borrow the car. This term transfers the oily, unctuous quality of butter to lavish praise. [c. 1700]
In addition to the idioms beginning with butter
- butter up
- butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth
- bread and butter
- bread-and-butter letter
- know which side of bread is buttered