Also called white walnut. the edible oily nut of an American tree, Juglans cinerea, of the walnut family.
the tree itself.
the light-brown wood of this tree, used for making furniture.
the light-brown color resulting from a dye made from this tree.
U.S. History. a Confederate soldier or partisan, especially one whose uniform was dyed with an extract from this tree.

Nearby words

  1. butterflyfish,
  2. butterine,
  3. buttermere,
  4. buttermilk,
  5. buttermilk sky,
  6. butternut pumpkin,
  7. butternut squash,
  8. butterpaste,
  9. butterscotch,
  10. butterweed

Origin of butternut

An Americanism dating back to 1735–45; so called from the nut's oiliness

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for butternut

British Dictionary definitions for butternut



a walnut tree, Juglans cinerea of E North AmericaCompare black walnut
the oily edible egg-shaped nut of this tree
the hard brownish-grey wood of this tree
the bark of this tree or an extract from it, formerly used as a laxative
a brownish colour or dye
NZ short for butternut pumpkin
Also called (for senses 1–4): white walnut

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 butternut



also butter-nut, 1753, nut of the white walnut, a North American tree; transferred to the tree itself from 1783. The nut's color was a brownish-gray, hence the word was used (1861) to describe the warm gray color of the Southern army uniforms in the American Civil War.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper