According to Wikipedia, the word “butte” comes from a French word meaning “small hill” and buttes differ from mesas in that a butte’s top is narrower than its height while a mesa’s top is wider than it is tall.
Adolescent humor alert! One of the entertaining aspects of the word “butte” is how close it is to the word “butt”. As we drove through Wyoming a few years back, we found ourselves highly entertained to learn that we were passing “Fossil Butt(e)”.
But Wyoming is supposed to have buttes. We were more surprised to learn that Louisiana is home to Butte La Rose. Louisiana seems too flat to have such a structure, but there’s the sign at exit 121 on I-10, as big as life.
And a picture of the alleged butte itself:
Other buttes (and non-buttes) mentioned on the wikipedia page include
- Scotts Bluff (actually a collection of five bluffs) in Nebraska
- Crested Butte in Colorado
- Elephant Butte in New Mexico
- Merrick’s Butte in Monument Valley, Utah (pictured)
- Owl Head Buttes in the Tortolita Mountains, NW of Tucson, Arizona (pictured)
- Bear Butte, South Dakota
- Black Butte, Oregon (pictured)
- Courthouse Rock, Nebraska (pictured)
- Kamiak Butte in Washington State (technically not a butte)
- Courthouse Butte near Sedona, Arizona
- Signal Butte near Big Springs, Texas (pictured)
- Butte, Montana (a city)