1. A soft yellowish or whitish emulsion of butterfat, water, air, and sometimes salt, churned from milk or cream and processed for use in cooking and as a food.
2. Any of various substances similar to butter, especially:
a. A spread made from fruit, nuts, or other foods: plum butter; cashew butter.
b. A vegetable fat having a nearly solid consistency at ordinary temperatures.
tr.v. but·tered, but·ter·ing, but·tersPhrasal Verb:
To put butter on or in.
To praise or flatter excessively: You're always buttering up the boss.
[Middle English butere, from Old English, from Latin būtȳrum, from Greek boutūron : bous, cow; see gwou- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + tūros, cheese; see teuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus