Definition of butternut in US English:



  • 1A North American walnut tree that bears oblong sticky fruits. Its light-colored, soft timber is useful primarily for making furniture and cabinetry.

    Juglans cinerea, family Juglandaceae

    Also called white walnut
    • ‘Although not the largest of its kind in the U.S., the butternut is sizable at about 80 feet tall with a 16-foot circumference.’
    • ‘These include oaks, hickories, buckeyes, chestnuts, butternuts, walnuts and hazels.’
    • ‘Local materials were used to make the stains, including walnut bark, walnut hulls, and butternut hulls.’
    • ‘Where growth rings are fluted slightly, as in butternut, basswood, and sometimes black walnut, an irregular but interesting figure results.’
    • ‘The fungus Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum has ravaged butternut, or white walnut, trees.’
    1. 1.1 The edible oily nut of the butternut.
      • ‘The butternut or American white walnut, J. cinerea, also grows in the eastern states, and also has a troublesome hard shell.’
      • ‘The butternuts that give the tree its name are also good for cooking and eating, Arch, the Cherokee artist, says.’
      • ‘For Soups and Sauces, Daylesford came out top with beetroot and bacon soup and commended for butternut, sage and onion soup.’
      • ‘You get a similarly hearty feel from a butternut risotto or a butternut take on a potato gratin.’
      • ‘Diners can expect butternut and sweet potato soup garnished with chopped coriander and coconut milk, followed by Cape Malay prawns.’
  • 2US historical, informal A Confederate soldier or supporter (so called because the fabric of the Confederate uniform was typically homespun and dyed with butternut extract).

    • ‘From that place I wrote incident after incident concerning the most inhuman barbarity that had been enacted by citizen guerrillas and butternut soldiers.’
    • ‘Because of the commonness of such uniforms, Yankees often referred to Confederate soldiers as "butternuts."’
    • ‘The men of the 6th Wisconsin, the 95th New York, and the 14th Brooklyn would apparently qualify as also-rans despite their sacrifice as they charged the Butternuts sheltered in the Railroad Cut.’
    • ‘Since, by definition, only one ‘real’ hero of Gettysburg exists, and since this paragon wore a uniform of blue, this would bar from consideration any of the butternuts contending from the other side of the field.’