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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.