Green’s Dictionary of Slang

butter n.1

[lit. or fig. charactericrtics of SE butter ]

1. [late 17C+] semen; thus buttery, semen-filled.

2. excrement.

3. [mid-19C] vaginal secretions.

4. [early 19C+] flattery, unctuousness; thus butter-tongued, persuasive.

5. [1920s] (US) nitroglycerine.

6. [1980s+] (US black) a woman, esp. when sexually active.

7. [1980s+] (US black) an attractive man.

8. [1990s+] (orig. US black/teen, also butta, buttah) a general term of approval, the best, the most fashionable, attractive etc; thus like butter, well-executed or performed smoothly or well [underlined by butter adj.2 ].

9. [1990s+] (W.I.) a feat which is easily performed.

In compounds

butter-boat (n.) [SE boat + pun on SE butter-boat, a vessel in which one serves melted butter]

[19C] the vagina.

butterbox (n.) [Nares, Glossary (1822), perhaps prudishly, prefers the definition ‘a woman’s breast’ ? but Rawson, Dict. Invective (1989), notes that F&H also include that definition (although they may be merely echoing Nares)]

1. [early 18C] the vagina.

2. see also under SE compounds below.

butterknife (n.)

[1900s] the penis.

In phrases

churn butter (v.)

[1940s] to masturbate.

in the butter

[1950s] in difficulties.

make butter with one’s tail (v.) [tail n. (2)]

[mid-17C] of a woman, to have sexual intercourse.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

butter-and-egg (v.)

see separate entry.

butter-assed (adj.)

[1970s] (US) naive, spoilt, foolish.

butter baby (n.) [baby n. (3); one of a variety of sl. terms equating women with food + ? early use of butter adj.2 ] [1980s+] (US black)

a woman with large breasts and buttocks.

butterbag (n.) [stereotype of Dutch as butter-makers]

[mid-17C] a Dutchman; also attrib.

butterball (n.) [SE butter-ball, a moulded ball of butter]

[1940s+] an overweight or plump young person; also as adj.

butter-bean teeth (n.) [resemblance of the teeth to the large white beans]

[1960s–70s] buck teeth.

butterbox (n.) [Dutch butter production and consumption]

1. [early 17C–mid-19C] a Dutchman; the Dutch language.

2. [late 17C] a fop [play on the ‘softness’ of butter].

3. [mid-19C] a German.

4. see also under sl. compounds above.

butterbox (adj.) [play on the ‘softness’ of butter]

[1960s+] of a man, effeminate.

butterboy (n.) [orig. (1913) coined for novice taxidrivers; ‘butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth’]

[1970s+] a novice, esp. a young police officer or a newly qualified taxi-driver.

butterbrain (n.) [SE butter + sfx -brain/butterfingers ]

[1900s; 1970s+] (Aus./US) a fool; thus butter-brained, stupid.

butter butt (n.)

(US black) a large posterior.

buttercup (n.)

1. [late 19C–1920s] a pet name for a child.

2. [1920s] (US) a young boy.

3. [1930s–40s] an effeminate male homosexual.

4. [1960s] (US) a pretty young woman.

butterfingers (n.) (also butter-thumbs)

[mid-19C+] (mainly juv.) one who lets things slip through their fingers; thus butterfinger v., to let something slip through one’s fingers; thus butter-fingered adj.

butter flower (n.) [? the smooth cannabis resin]

[1970s+] (drugs) marijuana.

butterhead (n.) [SE or ? butthead under butt n.1 ]

1. [late 19C; 1950s+] (US, also butter gills) a fool; thus butterheaded adj., foolish.

2. [1940s] (US black) a black person who, for whatever reason, is considered an embarrassment to their race.

butterken (n.) (also butterker) [ken n.1 (1)]

[late 19C] (US) a shop.

butter mouth

see separate entries.

butternut (n.) [the brown Confederate uniforms (worn in the West and which preceded their grey ones) which were dyed with the juice of the butternut]

[mid–late 19C] (US) a Northern supporter of the Confederacy during the US Civil War; also attrib.

butter pecan (n.) [SE butter pecan ice-cream, which is light brown and sweet]

[1990s+] (US black teen) an attractive Puerto Rican/Latino woman; also attrib.

butter-print (n.) [fig. use of SE butter print, a stamp of carved wood for marking butter-pats; the impression of such a stamp]

[17C–early 18C] a baby, a child, esp. when illegitimate.

butter-weight (n.) [SE butter-weight, 18oz (510g) or more to the pound, when the normal equivalent is 16oz (450g)]

[early 18C] a good measure.

butter-whore (n.)

[late 16C–late 18C] an ill-tempered woman who sells butter.

butter wrapper (n.)

[late 19C] (Aus.) a newspaper.

In phrases

butter-and-egg man (n.)

see separate entry.

butter-and-eggs trot (n.)

see separate entry.

have no butter in one’s eyes (v.)

[early–mid-19C] to be well aware, to have no illusions.