from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To hit or push against with the head or horns; ram.
  • intransitive verb To hit or push something with the head or horns.
  • intransitive verb To project forward or out.
  • noun A push or blow with the head or horns.
  • noun A large cask.
  • noun A unit of volume equal to two hogsheads, usually the equivalent of 126 US gallons (about 477 liters).
  • transitive & intransitive verb To join or be joined end to end; abut.
  • noun A butt joint.
  • noun A butt hinge.
  • noun One that serves as an object of ridicule or contempt.
  • noun A target, as in archery or riflery.
  • noun A target range.
  • noun An obstacle behind a target for stopping the shot.
  • noun An embankment or hollow used as a blind by hunters of wildfowl.
  • noun Archaic A goal.
  • noun Obsolete A bound; a limit.
  • noun The larger or thicker end of an object.
  • noun An unburned end, as of a cigarette.
  • noun Informal A cigarette.
  • noun A short or broken remnant; a stub.
  • noun Informal The buttocks; the rear end.
  • adverb Slang Very. Used as an intensive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See but.
  • noun A push or thrust given by the head of an animal: as, the butt of a ram.
  • noun A thrust in fencing.
  • noun In archery, the end of an arrow which is held against the bowstring in shooting: opposed to point.
  • noun A shelter or concealment, built of blocks of peat or turf, for the gunner in grouse-driving on English and Scotch moors. Also called a battery.
  • noun In the tobacco trade, a box 12 inches square, holding from 15 to 50 pounds.
  • noun plural The ends or ‘cuttings’ of jute rejected by the manufacturer of cloth or bagging. They are used in making coarse kinds of paper.
  • To strike by thrusting, as with the end of a beam or heavy stick, or with the horns, tusks, or head, as an ox, a boar, or a ram; strike with the head.
  • To strike anything by thrusting the head against it, as an ox or a ram; have a habit of striking in this manner.
  • To join at the end or outward extremity; abut; be contiguous.
  • Specifically, in ship-building, to abut end to end; fit together end to end, as two planks.
  • Also spelled but.
  • noun A leathern bottle or flask; a bucket: in this sense only in Middle English, usually spelled bit or bitt.
  • noun A large cask, especially one to contain wine.
  • noun A measure of wine equal to 126 United States (that is, old wine) gallons; a pipe.
  • noun A beehive.
  • noun A cart.
  • To lay down bounds or limits for.
  • To cut off the ends of, as boards, in order to make square ends or to remove faulty portions.
  • To abut. See butt, verb, II., 2, 3.
  • Also spelled but.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English butten, from Old French bouter, to strike, of Germanic origin; see bhau- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French boute, from Late Latin *buttia, variant of buttis.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English butten, from Anglo-Norman butter (variant of Old French bouter; see butt) and from but, end; see butt.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English butte, target, from Old French, from but, goal, end, target; see butt.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English butte, from Old French but, end, of Germanic origin.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word butt.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • for a cigarette, my old man says cigabutt.

    March 14, 2007

  • A unit of volume equal to two hogsheads or 126 gallons.

    November 7, 2007

  • Ah yes, that old legend about George, duke of Clarence being drowned in a butt of malmsey wine in the Tower of London... It does seem that 126 gallons would be enough to do the trick.

    November 7, 2007

  • And I cannot lie.

    November 7, 2007

  • Clearly this word most commonly refers to the "thick end of the handle," and not, as I mistakenly believed, a person's posterior. Thank you, WordNet!

    November 8, 2007

  • I randomed this, honestly! *facepalm*

    August 7, 2008

  • I especially like WeirdNET's fourth and eighth definitions. WTF?

    August 7, 2008

  • 'equipment needed to participate in a particular sport' was the one that mystified me. I hope Chinese authorities have ensured an adequate supply of butts for the Olympic Games.

    August 7, 2008

  • Actually... You need butts (of a sort) to participate in archery, which is an Olympic sport. *is a bit stunned that bilby's bizarre assertion is somewhat accurate*

    And what's with that last definition? Oh Weirdnet. You're so weird.

    August 7, 2008

  • Yes, definition #4 is exquisite: "Something determined in relation to something that includes it." Oh, WeirdNet. You're always so . . . precise.

    August 7, 2008

  • But, but ...

    August 7, 2008

  • Don't 'thick end of the handle' me, with your but buts.


    Where IS AbraxasZugzwang anyhow?!

    August 7, 2008

  • He's crying for us, in Argentina.

    August 8, 2008

  • "In case any men continued to leave alcohol production to women, the new experts assured them that they were wrong. Morrice warned that 'when a butt wants fining down, many appoint a servant girl to perform that office by whom the bungs are left out, and many other acts committed, which all tend to discredit the brewer, although he does not deserve it."

    —Sarah Hand Meacham, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 98

    I'm not sure any young servant girl ought properly to know how to fine down a butt.

    June 9, 2010

  • 126 gallons. Composed of two hogsheads.

    August 29, 2010

  • Obsolete spelling of but.

    December 4, 2017