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[byoot] /byut/
noun, Western U.S. and Canada.
an isolated hill or mountain rising abruptly above the surrounding land.
Origin of butte
1650-60, Americanism; < North American French; French: low hill, mound, Old French: landmark, target, apparently feminine derivative of but butt2
Can be confused
beaut, butte, Butte.


[byoot] /byut/
a city in SW Montana: mining center.
Can be confused
beaut, butte, Butte. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for butte
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nevertheless they continued their advance as far as the slopes of Hill 193 and the butte de Tahure, and there dug themselves in.

  • Get them, tell them to load up with plenty of cartridges, and join me at the butte.

    'Firebrand' Trevison Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Beyond the summit of the butte was a greenish-brown plateau of sagebrush and bunch-grass.

    Hidden Gold Wilder Anthony
  • When I gave my warning, butte & Boston was selling between 25 and 30.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • They presently came pouring toward her, diverged westward, and massed at the base of a butte rising from a dry arroyo.

    Brand Blotters William MacLeod Raine
  • They saw that they must reach the butte as speedily as possible, for the night was coming on.

    The Boy Hunters Captain Mayne Reid
  • In the sandstone formation atop the butte is a cave formed by wind and water erosion.

    North Dakota Various
British Dictionary definitions for butte


(Western US & Canadian) an isolated steep-sided flat-topped hill
Word Origin
C19: from French, from Old French bute mound behind a target, from but target; see butt²
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
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Word Origin and History for butte

1805, American English, from French butte, from Old French but "mound, knoll" (see butt (n.3)). A French word introduced in Lewis & Clark's journals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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butte in Science
A steep-sided hill with a flat top, often standing alone in an otherwise flat area. A butte is smaller than a mesa.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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