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.

Definitions of butte

n a hill that rises abruptly from the surrounding region; has a flat top and sloping sides

Type of:
a local and well-defined elevation of the land

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