Share this entry

butler Line breaks: but¦ler
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌtlə/

Definition of butler in English:


The chief manservant of a house.
Example sentences
  • In those days, a grand house would employ at least 16 domestic servants, and perhaps an army of 30-cooks, parlour maids, footmen, hall boys, gardeners, butlers, coachmen.
  • I miss the people in the White House: the butlers, the house men, and the curator, and you know, the usher that runs the place.
  • After that I fantasized for hours about living in such a house and having several maids and butlers instead of our one.


Middle English: from Old French bouteillier 'cup-bearer', from bouteille 'bottle'.

  • bottle from Late Middle English:

    The word bottle goes back to Latin buttis ‘cask, wineskin’, the origin of butt (Late Middle English) and also of butler (Middle English) originally the man in charge of the wine-cellar. To have a lot of bottle and the related phrases to lose your bottle and to bottle out, meaning ‘to lose your nerve’, date back to the 1950s. ‘Bottle’ here may be from rhyming slang bottle and glass, ‘arse’.

Words that rhyme with butler


Definition of butler in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive