Green’s Dictionary of Slang

butter n.1

[lit. or fig. charactericrtics of SE butter ]

1. semen; thus buttery, semen-filled.

implied in make butter with one’s tail
[UK]W. Charleton Cimmerian Matron in Mish Restoration Prose Fiction (1970) 155: [She was] besmear’d with her own blood, while the more guilty wife was anointed with the Butter of Joy.
[UK]Merry Maid of Islington 17: Tell me, good Housewives, is not the pleasure more, when Butter quickly comes, Than to be three long hours a jogging of your Bums.
[UK]N. Ward London Terraefilius I 23: The Cat that loves Butter herself, will never abandon her Kitten for taking a lick at the Cream-Pot.
[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 53: [She] is said to have not only a delicate hand at stroking, but great skill in the use of the churn, soon making love’s butter from nature’s cream.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 90: Dutch Frow Christine, who said, – He cannot stand it, and I cannot stand it [...] he shall churn all night, but the butter will not come, and he bends de churn-staff.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) XI 2294: Backwards she drew her bum, my prick slipped out of her buttery cunt.
[US](con. c.1914) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 771: Set on your butt, get a hold of your nubbin, / If you don’t get butter, just keep on a-rubbing.
[US]Bo Carter ‘Banana in Your Fruit Basket’ [lyrics] Now I got the dasher, my baby got the churn, / We gonna churn, churn, churn till the butter come.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 133: Learned from a Negro in central Arkansas, about 1910. [...] ‘Supper got done an’ she give me some, / Wiggled her ass till the butter come, um-hum. / Went upstairs to get a little jigger, um-hum’.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 407: All them gals is after my nubbin, / Butter don’t come, they keep on a-rubbin’.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 152: You talk like I don’t know how to whip a woman’s jelly [... I can whip it till the butter comes.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 132: Stick a stirrer up her big butt and she could make butter.
[US]Lady B ‘To the Beat, Y’all’ [lyrics] I say, you bring the butter and I’ll bring the salt / And if you don’t freak then it ain’t my fault.
[WI]‘Yellowman’ ‘Cocky Did a Hurt Me’ [lyrics] Me discharge best butter.

2. excrement.

[UK]Mercurius Democritus 9-16 Feb. 345: The trembling Dutch dejected stand, / their Skippers still do mutter, / The High and Mighties of Holland, / their Breeches now make Butter.
[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 75: I in Kitchin rul’d the Roast, / And for a Hash but over-sauc’d, / Have churn’d the Cook till from his Bum / I made the yellow Butter come.

3. vaginal secretions.

[UK]‘I Wish My Dear Fanny’ in Rum Ti Tum! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 180: O wert thou transmuted into a milk-churn, / I’d then be your staff or your beam, / My milk I would yield lovely maid in my turn, / And give for your butter my cream.

4. flattery, unctuousness; thus butter-tongued, persuasive.

[UK]Blackwood’s Mag. XIV 309: You have been daubed over by the dirty butter of his applause [F&H].
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 394: The chairman, looking rather foolish at his butter not being swallowed.
[UK]Trollope Three Clerks (1869) 7: The quantity of butter which he poured over Mr. Hardine’s head and shoulders with the view of alleviating the misery which such a communication would be sure to inflict, was very great.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Feb. 4/4: I’ve watched him many a year, and can / Most honestly his praises utter. / There never was a living man / Who better could lay on the ‘butter.’.
[UK]Sporting Times 6 Sept. 1/1: The greedy way in which [the Scots] swallow the Gladstonian butter or ‘bosh’ is nationally characteristic.
[UK]J. Payn Notes from ‘News’ 74: ‘Your novel has great merit, but’ – mere butter.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 73: His lordship swallowed the butter without comment.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 27 Sept. 42/2: I hated the butter tongued feller that got Phil into it.
[UK]A. Brazil Madcap of the School 28: ‘She can swallow any amount of butter [...] She evidently likes it laid on thick’.
[US]Weseen Dict. Amer. Sl.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

5. (US) nitroglycerine.

[US]E. O’Neill Hairy Ape Act VII: Dat’s what I’m after – to blow up de steel [...] Gimme de stuff, de old butter – and watch me do de rest!
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

6. (US black) a woman, esp. when sexually active.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 142: The term butter [...] refers to both an attractive woman and to a full derriere.

7. (US black) an attractive man.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 198: There were also terms related to men and sex: [...] butter, little pretty, sweet (attractive male).

8. (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 ].

[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 92: Like buttah, meaning ‘smooth, soft, beautiful’ or ‘executed or performed smoothly or well’, entered college slang in 1992 from the Coffee Talk sketch.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Butter [...] da bomb; the best.
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] butta n. the good stuff. ‘Now that’s the butta!’.

9. (W.I.) a feat which is easily performed.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 7: Butter any feat requiring no effort; easily done: u. a butter dat.

In compounds

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

the vagina.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 32: bateau, m. The female pudendum; ‘the butter-boat’.
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. the vagina.

[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:4 18: The Fro believing from my Joaks, / I fancy’d not her Butter-Box.

2. see also under SE compounds below.

In phrases

churn butter (v.)

to masturbate.

[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 329: There was a cute quirp from Calcutta / Who was fond of churning love-butta.
in the butter

in difficulties.

[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 72: If the cinder dicks find you on the train, we will all be in the butter.
make butter with one’s tail (v.) [tail n. (2)]

of a woman, to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Gesta Grayorum in J. Nichols Progresses and Processions of Queen Elizabeth (1823) III 335: If lusty Doll, mayde of the dary / Chance to be blew-nipte by the Fayry, / For making butter with her tayle; / I’le give her that did never fayle.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus No. 82 644: Here’s Meg, Moll, Kate, Maids of the Dayrie, / But last night blew-nipt by a Fayrie, / For making Butter with their tailes.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

butter-and-egg (v.)

see separate entry.

butter-assed (adj.)

(US) naive, spoilt, foolish.

[US]E. Thompson A Garden of Sand (1981) 37: You come back here, you butter-assed little bastard.
butter baby (n.) [baby n. (3); one of a variety of sl. terms equating women with food + ? early use of butter adj.2 ] (US black)

a woman with large breasts and buttocks.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 142: The expression butter baby refers to a girl who promises to be amply endowed – as one young man put it – ‘from her headlights to her hocks’.
butterbag (n.) [stereotype of Dutch as butter-makers]

a Dutchman; also attrib.

[UK]J. Howell Familiar Letters (1737) II Dec. 90: For the latter strength, we may thank our Countryman Ward, and Danskey the Butterbag Hollander.
butterball (n.) [SE butter-ball, a moulded ball of butter]

an overweight or plump young person; also as adj.

[US]S. Longstreet Decade 231: ‘Listen, Chris,’ asked Barnes of the butterball face, ‘what do you think we just got?’.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ ‘Tell Them Nothing’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 2: He’d beat that fat hide right off you, Butterball.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 21: Yawl just turn her on to some smack and her butter ball ass go right down the drain.
[US]S. King It (1987) 87: I was a regular butterball.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 24: A lot of guys got tagged with nicknames during jonin’ sessions: Roach, Tweety Bird, Itchy Booty, Butter Ball.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 79: I found myself facing a vivacious little butterball, her hair in coiled ringlets.
[Aus]S. Maloney Something Fishy (2006) 23: Behind her butterball exterior, Gillian was sharp as a tack.
[US](con. 1954) ‘Jack Tunney’ Tomato Can Comeback [ebook] That dirty little butterball got what was coming to him.
butter-bean teeth (n.) [resemblance of the teeth to the large white beans]

buck teeth.

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

1. a Dutchman; the Dutch language.

[UK]Dekker Shoemakers’ Holiday II iii: They may well be called butter-boxes, when they drink fat veale, and thicke beare too.
[UK]Weakest goeth to the Wall line 462: In stead of parle buon francoys, learne to brawl out butterbox .
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: Thou lookest like a strange creature, a fat butter-box, yet speakest English.
[UK]Jonson Staple of News I ii: The butter-box, Buz, the emissary.
[UK]H. Glapthorne Hollander I i: [If] The gentle noose had knit up him, and a hundred of his country men, our land would not be pestred so with butterboxes.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 8-16 Dec. 182: Vanfart having chain’d up the Thames with Holland Cheeses makes them beleeve the Narrow Seas are to be confin’d into the narrow compasse of a Butter-box.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 8-16 Dec. 188: The Butter-boxes have caused the English Colours to be set upon their own ships.
[UK] in Euing Broadside Ballads No. 60 ‘Dutch Damnified or the Butter-Boxes Bob’d’ [title].
[UK]Hogan-Moganides 3: When Butterbox did put on State; Confusion turn’d Confederate.
N. Ward Auction 3: What, I warrant you, that’s a Butter-box with his 1 Pound, 1 Skillin.
N. Ward Step to Bath 11: [She] then departed, and left poor Butter-Box, to be ridicul’d by the whole Society of Thimberkins.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: butter box, Dutchman, from the great quantity of butter eaten by the people of that country.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]W.H. Smyth Sailor’s Word-Bk (1991) 148: Butter-Box. A cant term for a Dutchman.
[UK]C. Hindley Old Book Collector’s Misc. 32: a butter-box noul. — i.e. a Dutchman’s head.
[US]R. Crane Wash Tubbs [comic strip] Well, me handsome butterboxes.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Maledicta VII 25: Buttermouth and butterbox are old slurs on the Dutch.

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

[UK]N. Ward London Spy IX 209: They [...] became their Post much better in their Old Coats, than the Butter-boxes did in all their finery.

3. a German.

[US]Melville Moby Dick (1907) 308: ‘Don’t be afraid, my butter-boxes,’ cried Stubb.

4. see also under sl. compounds above.

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

a novice, esp. a young police officer or a newly qualified taxi-driver.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 176: Butter boy Newly licensed cab driver, or very young policeman.
butterbrain (n.) [SE butter + sfx -brain/butterfingers ]

(Aus./US) a fool; thus butter-brained, stupid.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 20 Mar. 4/1: Could stupidity go father than this in the shape of butter-brained, beautiful bungling?
[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 46: Twerp, creepo, butterbrain. It wasn’t right. He was a straightforward, honest [...] guy.
[Aus]Bird Munchies (Aus.) ‘Feathered Frolics’ [Internet] Listen, butterbrain, he’s had more good ideas than you’ve had munchies.
[US]Redwall Fanfiction Board ‘StarPearl’s Journey part 7’ [Internet] ‘Do you know where you going, FireEye?’ Asked Loki. ‘Yes, you butterbrain! I only took this route a million times coming to Samptra!’.
butter butt (n.)

(US black) a large posterior.

[UK](con. 1930s–50s) D. Wells Night People 117: Butter butt. Fat bottom.
buttercup (n.)

1. a pet name for a child.

[UK]E.L. Linton World Well Lost vii: Hilda was still in the school-room, and seldom appeared, even at afternoon tea; which in general is licensed to include buttercups [F&H].

2. (US) a young boy.

[US]H.L. Wilson Professor How Could You! 230: It was certainly soft sugar for that buttercup.

3. an effeminate male homosexual.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US] (ref. to 1930s) Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 6: buttercup (n.): Effeminate male homosexual. (Used in the 1930’s by heterosexuals; now fallen into disuse.).
[US] (ref. to 1930s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 72: stereotype effeminate homosexual [...] buttercup (hetero sl, ’30s).

4. (US) a pretty young woman.

[UK]D. Totheroh Burlesque 92: Take your little buttercup away from that door.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
butterfingers (n.) (also butter-thumbs)

(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.

[UK]T. Hook Gilbert Gurney 146: Cries of ‘Ah, clumsy’ – ‘halloo, butter fingers,’ were heard.
[UK]T. Hood Pen and Pencil Pictures 141: He was a slovenly player, and went among the cricket-lovers by the sobriquet of Butter-fingers.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 108: BUTTER-FINGERED, apt to let things fall.
[UK]G. Meredith Evan Harrington I 248: The ball, indeed, was dropping straight into the hands of [...] the long-hit-off, he who never was known to miss a catch – butter-fingered beast! – he let the ball slip through his fingers.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1860].
T.W. Lawson Krank: His Lang. and What It Means 24: The buttercups I gather While the batsman waits and lingers, And now you know the reason Why they call me ‘butter-fingers’.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 86: There are howls of ‘Bloomin’ butter-fingers!’ followed by derisive laughter.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Nov. 12/3: Even a butter-fingers could have picked the dreamer’s pocket of a valuable sweep-ticket without breaking his trance.
[UK]G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island II ii: Oh, you’ve a dale to say for yourself, you butther-fingered omadhaun.
[US]O. Johnson Varmint 82: The Cleve House representatives were a lot of dubs, butterfingers and fumblers, anyhow!
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 95: Slinging the dicebox [...] and adding ‘Butter-thumbs!’ when he missed it.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 218: butter-fingered, clumsy.
[US]Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act III: You God damn butter fingers!
[UK]L. Thomas Woodfill of the Regulars 245: It was hardly a job for butter-fingered rookies.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 16/2: Butter fingers, a person who is clumsy in handling any article.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 231: So obliging in their butterfingered offers to take from her a burden of sorrow that neither of them could understand.
[UK]P. Pringle Boy’s Book of Cricket 32: Well held – Billy Butterfingers!
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 168: Some beer trickled on to a woman’s coat [...] ‘Butterfingers’.
[UK]K. Waterhouse There is a Happy Land (1964) 95: Hah, blinking butterfingers has dropped his plate!
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 55: I knew chiefly the rakish fraternity of [...] addled porch climbers, wife beaters, door-mat thieves, [...] butterfingered safeblowers and shop-lifters.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 33: The shooter ran around the table as Butterfingers hit the floor.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘The Long Legs of the Law’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Oh dear, oh dear, butterfingers.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 207: Catchcha later, butterfingers.
[UK]Guardian Editor 7 Jan. 13: In the dream Crystal’s patient [...] appears as his son, butterfingering a revolver and failing to prevent the hit.
butterhead (n.) [SE or ? butthead under butt n.1 ]

1. (US, also butter gills) a fool; thus butterheaded adj., foolish.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 May. 9/4: Some insane old butterhead once remarked that figures couldn't lie, but [...] this fellow never dreamt of the mighty power of the Sydney daily press.
[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 189: D’ye hear me old butter gills!
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 16: The senior class’s butter-headed peckerwood flashing around the locker room.
S. Elliott Life without Consequences 139: ‘Butterhead,’ I call him when I sit down to play against him. He glares at me but he is a skinny runt and nothing to be afraid of.

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

J. Škvorecký Dvorak in Love 102: ‘Why you calling me butterhead?’ ‘Because you’re a nigger, butterhead.’.
B. & K. Coville Goblins in the Castle 90: Better be afraid, butterhead boy!
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 75: Butterhead n. (1940s) a ‘Negro’ who is considered an ‘embarrassment’ to his race.
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]

(US) a Northern supporter of the Confederacy during the US Civil War; also attrib.

[US]G.W. Whitman diary Civil War Letters 141: The North Carolinaons [sic] and Georgians were regular buternuts [sic], gaunt, long haired and long leged [sic] chaps most of them dressed in Butternut clothing.
[US]C.W. Wills Army Life of an Illinois Soldier (1996) 172: Whenever a butternut would appear among us they would greet him with a perfect storm of shouts.
[US] (ref. to US Civil War) Botkin Lay My Burden Down 96: They had all their menfolks in the Confederate army [...] I seen lots of men in butternut clothes.
butter pecan (n.) [SE butter pecan ice-cream, which is light brown and sweet]

(US black teen) an attractive Puerto Rican/Latino woman; also attrib.

[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 151: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Redbone. Hi-Yella. French vanilla. Butter pecan. Chocolate deluxe. Caramel sundae.
[US]50 Cent ‘P.I.M.P.’ [lyrics] I got some butter pecan Puerto Ricans.
butter-print (n.) [fig. use of SE butter print, a stamp of carved wood for marking butter-pats; the impression of such a stamp]

a baby, a child, esp. when illegitimate.

[UK]Fletcher Chances I vi: A beavy of these Butter-prints.
[UK]Fletcher Spanish Curate II i: There are some poor Labourers [...] with helping one another, Produce some few pin’d Butter-prints, that scarce hold the Christening neither.
[UK]R. Brome Northern Lasse II i: A Butter-print?
[UK]Buckingham Chances I vi: [as cit. c.1617].
[UK]British Apollo II 46 32: Her Girl and her Boy, / For Patterns employ, / To make little Butter-Prints by [F&H].
[UK]C. Coffey Boarding-School 38: Backstitch has just now lock’d her up in a lower Room, where my little Butter-print was waiting for me.
butter teeth (n.) [var. on bread-and-butter teeth under bread-and-butter adj. or butter-bean teeth ]

(US) buck teeth.

[UK]Wily Beguiled 35: Give me but such an other word, and Ile be they tooth-drawer een of they butter tooth, thou toothlesse trot thou.
[UK]Jonson Silent Woman IV v: Your two butter-teeth.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Butter Teeth. Large broad fore teeth.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]S.O. Addy Sheffield Gloss. 34: Butter-Teeth, large, broad front teeth.
[US] in DARE.
butter-weight (n.) [SE butter-weight, 18oz (510g) or more to the pound, when the normal equivalent is 16oz (450g)]

a good measure.

[UK]Swift ‘On Poetry’ Miscellanies V (1751) 264: Yet why should we be lac’d to straight? I’ll give my ------ Butter-weight .
butter-whore (n.)

an ill-tempered woman who sells butter.

[UK]Nashe Four Letters Confuted in Works II (1883–4) 238: Why thou arrant butter whore, thou cotqueane and scrattop of scoldes.
[UK]J. Day Ile of Guls IV i: O that I were a butter whore for an houre I might scold a little.
[UK] ‘Excellent New Medley’ in Pepys Ballads (1987) I 456: The Cuckow sung hard by the doore, Gyll brawled like a butter whore, Cause her buck-headed Husband swore the Miller was a knaue.
[UK]J. Clarke Paraemiologia 275: To scould like butter-wives.
[UK]J. Howell Familiar Letters 20: They scold like so many butter-whores or oyster-women at Billingsgate [F&H].
[UK]S. Wesley Maggots 127: All the Tripe-women, Kitchin-stuff-wenches, Hogs-feet, Butter-Whores and Scullions.
[UK]Motteux (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 557: The old fusty landlady kept her ground, swearing like any butter-whore, that the tarpaulins were very honest cods.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 129: He scolded like a Butter-Whore.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 184: You kick’d, and danc’d, and bounc’d, and swore, / And scolded like a butter-whore.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) I 248: [as cit. 1772].
butter wrapper (n.)

(Aus.) a newspaper.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 7/1: We quote from the local butter-wrapper.

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.)

to be well aware, to have no illusions.

[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome I 50: ‘You see it?’ — ‘Yes.’ —‘Well, that implies, You’ve got no butter in your eyes.’.