Definition of butch in US 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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An original touch, however, is the shovel-grip handbrake, which saves space as well as feeling quite butch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is some sort of former light industrial building that has been transformed with butch know-how.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's not sore - I just sound very butch and can't sing very well.’
    • ‘Venison with braised red cabbage sounds like a hefty, butch dish.’
    • ‘We have butch guys, and guys who are really into clubbing - the whole spectrum.’
    • ‘No, no, the Greeks have stuck a load of butch canoeists to paddle up and down on it.’
    • ‘After decades of associating Democrats with failed masculinity, the Republicans are faced with an opponent who knows how to put on a butch display.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The big lights, butch bulges and metallic paint are designed to be brash, flash and funky.’
    • ‘Like all Republicans, he had himself photographed in an elaborate costume, leaning on a very butch piece of heavy equipment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘I always wanted to make proper films, butch films with lots of big trucks and big sweaty sparks and do it properly.’
    • ‘Fry also goes through butch biker phases; for a previous interview with me he roared up in red and black leathers.’
    • ‘Trying on sunglasses, I'm surprised by how butch my face is.’
    • ‘This is tough, concise, and, if I may, butch movie-making, and I love it.’
    masculine, aggressively masculine, manly, all man, virile, red-blooded, swashbuckling
    View synonyms


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

    Compare with 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've always had problems with the butch / femme label thing.’
    • ‘But I just can't see how any of that has anything to do with being a butch or a femme.’
    • ‘The resurgence of butch / femme identities in the lesbian community brings those differences front and center.’
    • ‘Also masculine females and feminine males - including butches and gay males considered to be ‘effeminate.’’
    • ‘For instance, it's not hard to find personal ads that read, ‘Straight-looking, straight-acting only’ and ‘No butches or fatties.’’
    • ‘My friends are largely femmes who date only butches - so many of us have dated or at least slept with the same ones.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It'll be slow for the mainstream to accept drag kings because butches are so feared and vilified.’
    • ‘In a most unlikely departure from the ordinary, even the tough butch on a bike will be a tenderfoot when it comes to goodbyes.’
    • ‘You see butches with butches but you never see butches with femmes anymore.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As two butches talk about their relationships, one (played by Dee) admits that she laid hands on her girlfriend ‘because I love her so.’’
    • ‘Allegedly, women today don't want a sensitive, caring partner, they want a butch, tough, man's man.’
    • ‘I know that you're used to getting your way with butches and with boys just because you're a hot babe.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It does serve as a short primer for folks not clear on the history of lesbian feminism and butch / femme dynamics, however.’


1940s: perhaps an abbreviation of butcher.