, ’Ole but, Me ole Butty
   After a BBC radio broadcast in 1975 Mr M.J.Collins wrote to the present author as follows: ‘The above terms are in common and frequent use today throughout the Forest of Dean, and are exactly analagous to “cock” and “mate”.’ ‘Butty’ was coined by the colliers of the now defunct Forest of Dean pits in the days when they hacked coal from narrow seams by bracing themselves back to back against their mate, their ‘butty’, derived from ‘buttock’. Miss M.J.Levett also wrote about the term ‘“ole but”, or more commonly said as one word, “olbut”. Presumably a contraction of old butty, and sometimes further reduced to “but”.’ Stephen York, writing from Nottingham. said: Butty is not used as a name-substitute here, but was in frequent use among Notts miners to denote the leader of a gang of miners in the old free-enterprise days. He would contract with the mineowners to work a certain part of the face (a butt?) for a negotiated sum, and split this with his men as he thought fit. D.H.Lawrence’s father was a butty, and there is a description in Sons and Lovers giving some idea of a butty’s work and status.
   Eric Partridge, in his Dictionary of Historical Slang, says that ‘butty’ emerged in the 1850s as a word meaning ‘mate’. He cites Romany ‘booty-pal’ as a possible origin, or a Warwickshire dialect word ‘butty’, which like the Romany word, referred to a fellow-worker. He also queries whether there could be a connection with ‘buddy’, to which the answer is probably not, since the latter term appeared in Britain only recently. Mr Collins’s ‘buttock’ suggestion is almost too appealing to try to overthrow. In its favour is the common use of ‘butt’ in slang to refer to the buttocks. The crux of the matter is whether the dialectal word for fellow-worker was in use before the mining term, and with colloquial terms of this kind, exact dating is impossible. First mention of such words in literature is a different matter, and does not necessarily reveal the true history of a word.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Butty — may refer to:* Butty, a dumb (unpowered) boat towed on the British canal systems by a powered narrowboat * Butty (sandwich), a sandwich which has butter spread on the bread (British slang) * Raking in a sum of money from a (possibly illegal) deal …   Wikipedia

  • Butty — But ty, n. (Mining) One who mines by contract, at so much per ton of coal or ore. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • butty — slice of bread and butter, 1855, northern English, from BUTTER (Cf. butter) + Y (Cf. y) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • butty — (also buttie) ► NOUN (pl. butties) informal, chiefly N. English ▪ a sandwich. ORIGIN from BUTTER(Cf. ↑butter) …   English terms dictionary

  • butty — I Mawdesley Glossary a slice of bread buttered. II Liverpool Slang sandwich: another jam butty p.31; a streaky bacon butty …   English dialects glossary

  • butty — UK [ˈbʌtɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms butty : singular butty plural butties British informal a sandwich I, 1) …   English dictionary

  • butty — 1. n. (pl. ies) 1 colloq. or dial. a mate; a companion. 2 hist. a middleman negotiating between a mine owner and the miners. 3 a barge or other craft towed by another. Phrases and idioms: butty gang a gang of men contracted to work on a large job …   Useful english dictionary

  • butty — noun A sandwich, usually with a hot savoury filling in a breadcake. The most common are chips, bacon, sausage and egg. Lets have a bacon butty! …   Wiktionary

  • butty — noun Butty is used after these nouns: ↑bacon …   Collocations dictionary

  • butty — A spoof on Betty an attractive female with an expansive derriere. Overheard at the reunion: Wow, did you see Jane? Back in the day she was a real Betty; but two kids later, she s more of a butty …   Dictionary of american slang

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