• synonyms


  1. any of several composite plants of the genus Petasites, having large, woolly leaves said to have been used to wrap butter.
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Origin of butterbur

First recorded in 1540–50; butter + bur1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for butterbur

Historical Examples

  • As an instance of his manner we may cite his account of the Butterbur, of which his wood-cut is shown in Text-fig.

    Herbals, Their Origin and Evolution

    Agnes Arber

  • So, too, the butterbur of the river flowers before its great leaf comes.

    Field and Hedgerow

    Richard Jefferies

  • The flower of Butterbur, he writes, is the first to appear, before the plant or leaves.

  • Its chief haunts, among the butterbur (Petasites), are in the northern counties from Cheshire to Durham.

British Dictionary definitions for butterbur


  1. a plant of the Eurasian genus Petasites with fragrant whitish or purple flowers, woolly stems, and leaves formerly used to wrap butter: family Asteraceae (composites)
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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