any of numerous plants of the genus Ranunculus, having glossy yellow flowers and deeply cut leaves.

Origin of buttercup

1505–15; butter + cup, from color and shape of flower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buttercup

Historical Examples of buttercup

  • He bit his lip and struck with his cane at the buttercup heads.

  • He rubbed some of the yellow of the egg off his chin, and stuck it on his leg like a buttercup.

  • Look at this buttercup as it begins to learn its new lesson.

    Parables of the Cross

    I. Lilias Trotter

  • Toby back with a bray of remonstrance, and Buttercup lowered her horns angrily.

    Little Men

    Louisa May Alcott

  • We have no blue flower that can equal the chroma of the buttercup.

    A Color Notation

    Albert H. Munsell

British Dictionary definitions for buttercup



any of various yellow-flowered ranunculaceous plants of the genus Ranunculus, such as R. acris (meadow buttercup), which is native to Europe but common throughout North AmericaSee also crowfoot, goldilocks (def. 2), spearwort, lesser celandine
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 buttercup

type of small wildflower with a yellow bloom, 1777, from a merger of two older names, gold-cups and butterflower. See butter (n.) + cup (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper