Meaning of butte in English:


Pronunciation /bjuːt/

See synonyms for butte on


technical North American
  • An isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top (similar to but narrower than a mesa).

    ‘Located in southeastern Utah, Canyonlands encompasses high mesas and buttes, burnt red sandstone pinnacles and arches, and a myriad of canyons and deep gorges cut by the Green and Colorado Rivers.’
    • ‘He explained the difference between the mesas and buttes in the distance and challenged us to find images of birds, couples dancing joyfully, and snakes in the sticklike forms of petroglyphs.’
    • ‘The park shows off some of the most striking landscapes of sandstone buttes, mesas, and spires in the entire Southwest.’
    • ‘From Moab, they will drive to Monument Valley, famous for the towering red buttes and mesas, which have formed the background for countless westerns.’
    • ‘Mesa table-mountains and free-standing buttes flashed by, chocolate-coloured and beige, magenta and orange.’
    • ‘From the edges of the valley, the land rises abruptly in steep high buttes.’
    • ‘Over the past 80 million years, the sand and mud of the sauropod nesting grounds have solidified into sandstone and mudstone that are visible today as distinct bands or layers in the site's ridges, buttes, and ravines.’
    • ‘Most notably, the hills and buttes that mark the landscape are generally depicted in a descriptive shorthand, outlined in a single stroke, or suggested by a mass of a single color.’
    • ‘It's sheer desert for three-hundred miles, with only hills and buttes to alleviate the nothingness.’
    • ‘The vista before me was a classic of the American West: red sandstone buttes rising from a valley floor, made redder still by the setting sun.’
    high ground, rising ground, prominence, eminence, elevation, rise, hillock, mound, mount, knoll, hummock, tor, tump, fell, pike, mesa


Early 19th century from French, ‘mound’, from Old French but, of unknown origin (compare with butt).