noun boo·ty \ ˈbü-tē \
Updated on: 17 Apr 2018

Definition of booty

plural booties
1 : plunder taken (as in war); especially : plunder taken on land as distinguished from prizes taken at sea
2 : a rich gain or prize

Two Kinds of booty

Occasionally a word in English will have a number of meanings that are notably different. One example of this is nice, which may mean "pleasing," "trivial," or "fastidious." Despite their semantic differences, all of these senses have a shared pronunciation, spelling, and most importantly, etymology; the latter determines their status as different meanings of the same word. In other instances, words with distinctive meanings may share a spelling and a pronunciation but have different origins, making them entirely different words. Such is the case with booty. The sense meaning "plunder" has been in our language since the 15th century and can be traced to the Middle Low German word būte, meaning "distribution, share, plunder." The slang word booty meaning either "buttocks" or "sexual intercourse," though spelled and pronounced the same, has a distinctive origin and is therefore an entirely different word. Dating from the early 20th century, it comes (via African-American English and possibly an English-based creole) from the Early Modern English word bottie, meaning "buttocks."

Origin and Etymology of booty

modification of Middle French butin, from Middle Low German būte exchange

Synonym Discussion of booty

spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot mean something taken from another by force or craft. spoil, more commonly spoils, applies to what belongs by right or custom to the victor in war or political contest.
    • the spoils of political victory
plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling.
    • a bootlegger's plunder
booty implies plunder to be shared among confederates.
    • thieves dividing up their booty
prize applies to spoils captured on the high seas or territorial waters of the enemy.
    • the wartime right of seizing prizes at sea
loot applies especially to what is taken from victims of a catastrophe.
    • picked through the ruins for loot



noun \ ˈbü-tē \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of booty

plural booties
1 US slang : buttocks
  • He'd turned his back to the raucous crowd and shook his booty.
  • —Joseph Wambaugh
2 US slang : sexual intercourse
  • … verbalizing the paradox faced by many '90s men just trying to get some booty without offending anyone.
  • —Eric Berman

Origin and Etymology of booty

alteration of an English-based creole word, ultimately from Early Modern English *bottie "buttocks," perhaps from 1bott(om) + -ie

BOOTY Defined for Kids


noun boo·ty \ ˈbü-tē \

Definition of booty for Students

1 : goods seized from an enemy in war or by robbery : plunder
2 : a valuable gain or prize

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