A butte is a flat-topped hill that stands alone in a relatively flat area. There are many buttes in the Southwest and Western United States.
The dramatic hills in the background of old Western films are often buttes — the director John Ford featured Arizona's Mitten Buttes in seven of his movies. Geographers distinguish between a butte and a mesa, a larger, flat-topped hill: a butte's top is narrower than it is tall, and a mesa's is wider than its height. The explorers Lewis and Clark are responsible for introducing this French word to English speakers.