Definition of silent butler in US English:

silent butler


  • A container with a handle and a hinged cover, used for collecting table crumbs or emptying ashtrays.

    • ‘Often mistaken for silent butlers, these cheese dishes were used in the late 18th and 19th centuries to make the popular repast.’
    • ‘This is a beautiful vintage Toleware silent butler that probably dates to the 1930's or 1940's.’
    • ‘This is a pretty round silent butler with a very nice Art Deco design on the lid.’
    • ‘Among the current collections on display in their home is an array of silent butlers - dishes with handles and lids that were once commonly used to dump ashtrays into - hand-made music boxes from Sorrento, Italy, and several dazzling serving trays inlaid with designs made from butterfly wings.’