Definition of butter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbədər/


A pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream and used as a spread or in cooking.
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]
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.
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.
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'.

Words that rhyme with butter

abutter, aflutter, Calcutta, clutter, constructor, cutter, declutter, flutter, gutter, mutter, nutter, scutter, shutter, splutter, sputter, strutter, stutter, utter

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: but·ter

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