Definition of butch in English:



  • Having an appearance or other qualities of a type traditionally seen as masculine:

    ‘a butch woman in a baseball cap’
    ‘butch men and feisty women’
    ‘there might be some butch firefighters on their way over!’
    • ‘Number one: while I personally quite like butch women, it's not a taste that's shared by every woman in the world - or even most of them.’
    • ‘This is tough, concise, and, if I may, butch movie-making, and I love it.’
    • ‘No, no, the Greeks have stuck a load of butch canoeists to paddle up and down on it.’
    • ‘You boys did all the butch stuff, and I filed my CD collection.’
    • ‘I was riding along towards home, wondering if the passing car drivers were looking on in awe thinking how butch I looked.’
    • ‘And how is the knowledge that all gay men aren't effeminate and all straight men aren't butch going to help you pick between the men exactly?’
    • ‘Venison with braised red cabbage sounds like a hefty, butch dish.’
    • ‘It's not sore - I just sound very butch and can't sing very well.’
    • ‘The big lights, butch bulges and metallic paint are designed to be brash, flash and funky.’
    • ‘An original touch, however, is the shovel-grip handbrake, which saves space as well as feeling quite butch.’
    • ‘Fry also goes through butch biker phases; for a previous interview with me he roared up in red and black leathers.’
    • ‘After decades of associating Democrats with failed masculinity, the Republicans are faced with an opponent who knows how to put on a butch display.’
    • ‘We have butch guys, and guys who are really into clubbing - the whole spectrum.’
    • ‘The good news, what there is of it, is that the few remaining teeth that I do have are apparently good teeth, strong teeth, firm, manly, positively butch teeth.’
    • ‘In the restlessly nurturing mind's eye of my mother, there resides a vastly better lighted and less deliberately butch apartment that is organized to be shared with a member of the opposite sex.’
    • ‘Like all Republicans, he had himself photographed in an elaborate costume, leaning on a very butch piece of heavy equipment.’
    • ‘Trying on sunglasses, I'm surprised by how butch my face is.’
    • ‘I always wanted to make proper films, butch films with lots of big trucks and big sweaty sparks and do it properly.’
    • ‘It is some sort of former light industrial building that has been transformed with butch know-how.’
    • ‘And should your butch man of the hour sign up for rebirthing classes to overcome trauma he suffered in the womb, you'll volunteer to drive him there.’
    manly, all man, virile, red-blooded, swashbuckling
    mannish, manlike, unfeminine, unladylike, amazonian
    macho, dykey
    viraginous, viragoish
    View synonyms


  • A lesbian whose appearance and behaviour are seen as traditionally masculine.

    Compare with femme
    • ‘For instance, it's not hard to find personal ads that read, ‘Straight-looking, straight-acting only’ and ‘No butches or fatties.’’
    • ‘I've always had problems with the butch / femme label thing.’
    • ‘It'll be slow for the mainstream to accept drag kings because butches are so feared and vilified.’
    • ‘But I just can't see how any of that has anything to do with being a butch or a femme.’
    • ‘Without a bi-sexual butch to cheer on, what will I do with myself?’
    • ‘Nearly all of those women who do like butches are lesbians.’
    • ‘I didn't mind, Josh and Derrick's friends were really sweet, even the butches, and they all pretty much respected the fact I was straight.’
    • ‘Paul's rejection of his sister's butch identity reflects his own internalized homophobia, yet this is complicated by their class differential as well.’
    • ‘Also masculine females and feminine males - including butches and gay males considered to be ‘effeminate.’’
    • ‘I know that you're used to getting your way with butches and with boys just because you're a hot babe.’
    • ‘Allegedly, women today don't want a sensitive, caring partner, they want a butch, tough, man's man.’
    • ‘While I was avoiding political discussions, I was formulating political convictions and trying to figure out my own personal views on the butch / femme debate.’
    • ‘In a most unlikely departure from the ordinary, even the tough butch on a bike will be a tenderfoot when it comes to goodbyes.’
    • ‘As two butches talk about their relationships, one (played by Dee) admits that she laid hands on her girlfriend ‘because I love her so.’’
    • ‘The resurgence of butch / femme identities in the lesbian community brings those differences front and center.’
    • ‘It does serve as a short primer for folks not clear on the history of lesbian feminism and butch / femme dynamics, however.’
    • ‘You see butches with butches but you never see butches with femmes anymore.’
    • ‘And butches now find themselves suddenly ‘performing masculinities’ instead of carrying on a fine old regular roguish Dyke tradition like they thought they were doing.’
    • ‘My friends are largely femmes who date only butches - so many of us have dated or at least slept with the same ones.’


1940s: perhaps an abbreviation of butcher.