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See also: butt load and butt-load


Alternative forms[edit]


From butt +‎ load. Butt in this context may be possibly one or both of:

  • butt (large wooden cask) (Etymology 3)
  • butt (two-wheeled cart) (Etymology 5)

Alternatively, the term may either be a corruption of English boatload or have been influenced by that term (except for the specific, West Country dialect sense).


  • (file)


buttload (plural buttloads)

  1. (obsolete, UK, West Country) A regional English measure of capacity of a heavy cart (a butt), containing 6 seams, or 48 bushels, equivalent to 384 gallons.
    • 1796, William Marshall, “Provincialisms of West Devonshire”, in The Rural Economy of the West of England[1], volume 1, page 324:
      BUTT LOAD: about six seams.
    • 1819, Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia[2], volume 31, Salting:
      The farmers near the fishing towns in the same district [Cornwall] likewise buy the refuse of bruised and small pilchards, which are rejected as unfit for curing or the market, and are called caff, four cart-loads of twelve bushels each being considered as the quantity proper for an acre. [] The butt-load formerly cost about 9s. or 10s. but they now fetch 15s. or 20s. the load.
    • 1839 July, Richard Edmonds, “A Statistical Account of the Parish of Madron, containing the Borough of Penzance, in Cornwall”, in Quarterly Journal of the Statistical Society of London[3], volume 2, page 211:
      The different kinds of manure usually employed in this neighbourhood are sea-weed, sand, stable-dung, ashes, and fish-dung. The quantities vary so much according to the condition of the land and other circumstances that it is impossible to state with any degree of accuracy what quantity is applied to the acre. In one of the conditions of leases previously quoted, it is stipulated that 10 butt-loads of good town or fish dung, and 10 butt-loads of sea-sand (to be mixed with the necessary quantity of earth) shall be carried for every acre broken up for tillage.
  2. (dated, Britain, Southern US, New England) A large amount carried in a butt.
    We spent all day Sunday and picked up a buttload of pecans.
  3. (by extension, mildly vulgar, slang) Any large but unspecific amount.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:lot
    • 1999, Philip Greenspun, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing, page 267:
      You can collect a metric buttload of data about user activity on your site without too much effort.
    • 2004, Theresa Alan, Spur of the Moment, page 264:
      Anyway, they are paying me a buttload of money to do this series, and I want to share my good fortune with you and that's that.
    • 2005, Napoleon Dynamite: The Complete Quote Book, Simon and Schuster, →ISBN, page 67:
      "Yeah, there's, like, a buttload of gangs at this school."

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]