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From butter +‎ ham, a calque of Dutch boterham.


  • (Northern English) IPA(key): /bʊtəɹam/


butter-ham (plural butter-hams)

  1. (obsolete) A slice of buttered bread.
    • 1771, Charles Davenant, Charles Whitworth, The Political And Commercial Works, page 240:
      Faith, I was within ams-ace of being found out ; for one night at a mum-house, where I was eating a butter-ham and pickled herrings, with some of the states, and where I was giving my self airs of greatness and interest in my country, swearing I myself would take care that my country, and three counties round about me, should choose none but hearty Whigs.
    • 1871, Lewis Baxter Monroe, Public and Parlor Readings, page 107:
      Give me a butterham, with flesh, and a half-bottle wine.
  2. (archaic) One of two strips of trim on either side of a cloak.
    • 2003, Cynthia Lowenthal, Performing Identities on the Restoration Stage, →ISBN, page 89:
      A cloak, half a yard shorter than the Breeches, not through lin'd, but fac'd as far as 'twas turned back, with a pair of frugal butter-hams.
  3. (North Yorkshire) a person who is overly ostentatious in their dress or actions.


  • Survey of English Dialects - British Library
  • The Accents of English Volume 2 - J.C. Wells