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.