Definition of butter in English:


Syllabification: but·ter
Pronunciation: /ˈbətər


  • A pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream and used as a spread or in cooking.
    More example sentences
    • They are served hot or cold spread with butter or margarine and sometimes jelly jam and cream.
    • We defined high fat dairy food as whole milk, ice cream, hard cheese, butter, and sour cream.
    • Dairy products such as butter, cream, and cheese are important parts of the diet, along with pork.


[with object] Back to top  
  • Spread (something) with butter: she buttered the toast (as adjective buttered) lavishly buttered bread
    More example sentences
    • Apryl half-heartedly smiled back as she picked up a slice of toast and buttered it.
    • Janice had made her two slices of toast and buttered them, and set them on the counter by the door, wrapped in a paper towel.
    • She said: ‘I was buttering a piece of bread and I just dropped what I was doing.’


look as if butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth

informal Appear gentle or innocent while typically being the opposite.
More example sentences
  • At home, he's placid and gentle and happy and looks as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
  • Because, while he may often look as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, underneath the boyish appearance and the trappings of trendiness, there is a genuinely steely determination that has to be admired.
  • For all they look as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, they're an un-Christian lot.

Phrasal verbs

butter someone up

informal Flatter or otherwise ingratiate oneself with someone.
More example sentences
  • ‘Magic Valley's industrial dairies try to butter us up with sweet talk and promises,’ the ad begins, ‘but the reality is as different as milk and molasses.’
  • His strategy now is to frustrate Dookeran, muzzle Yetming and see if Jack can be buttered up.
  • ‘See, he phones people just to say hello, but he's only buttering you up so he can ask you favours later,’ he continued.
flatter, sweet-talk, curry favor with, court, wheedle, cajole, persuade, coax, compliment, get around, prevail on; be obsequious toward, be sycophantic toward, toady to, fawn on, make up to, play up to, ingratiate oneself with, suck up to, be all over, soft-soap


Old English butere, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch boter and German Butter, based on Latin butyrum, from Greek bouturon 'cow cheese'.

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