the more or less acidulous liquid remaining after butter has been separated from milk or cream.
a similar liquid made from whole or skim milk with the addition of a bacterial culture.

1520–30; butter + milk

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World English Dictionary
buttermilk (ˈbʌtəˌmɪlk)
the sourish liquid remaining after the butter has been separated from milk, often used for making scones and soda bread

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1520s, from butter + milk. Deceptively named, it is what remains after the butter has been churned out.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the fluid remaining when the fat is removed by churning cream into butter. It was formerly used as a beverage, but today it is mostly condensed or dried for use in the baking and frozen desserts industry. It has been replaced as a beverage by cultured buttermilk, which is prepared from skim or low-fat milk by fermentation with bacteria that produces lactic acid. The resulting product is thicker than traditional buttermilk but is similar to it in other respects.

Learn more about buttermilk with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Its light flesh cooks up in about five minutes and makes exquisite buttermilk
Buttermilk, with its ample greens and innovative ski school, is perfect for
He drank a dish of cream from time to time, but he believed that whey and
  buttermilk had purgative effects.
Buttermilk is virtually without fat and is deliciously refreshing.
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