but·​ter·​cup ˈbə-tər-ˌkəp How to pronounce buttercup (audio)
plural buttercups
: any of a large genus (Ranunculus of the family Ranunculaceae, the buttercup family) of chiefly perennial herbaceous plants having colorful cup-shaped flowers with 5 or sometimes many petals : ranunculus
especially : a plant (such as R. acris and R. repens) with usually bright yellow, five-petaled flowers
The flowers …, 1 1/2-in.-wide golden buttercups set atop a green topknot of fringy leaves, are very bright and cheery in the chill of March. Aileen Detter Rodgers
compare crowfoot, spearwort

Examples of buttercup in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Its straight tube of a noodle is a faint buttercup yellow, and the slight sheen suggests a decent amount of sauce has managed to cling on. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 5 Oct. 2023 Pick a buttercup squash with a firm cap, halve, scoop out the seeds, and bake to bring out the squash's sweetness. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 2 Sep. 2023 Buttercup Squash Slightly sweet and creamy, the buttercup squash is one of the most underrated winter squash varieties. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 2 Sep. 2023 The two best examples are wild violets and wild buttercups. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 1 Apr. 2023 This is a buttercup (Ranunculus), probably Ranunculus repens, the creeping buttercup. oregonlive, 30 Apr. 2022 Some good pollinator plants for ponds include water lilies, buttercups, and irises. Jenny Krane, Better Homes & Gardens, 18 June 2023 Wild buttercups are also known as lesser celandine. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 1 Apr. 2023 Some of the shophouses are perfectly restored plaster cornices gleaming with fresh pink, baby blue or buttercup yellow paint. Simon Elegant, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'buttercup.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1688, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of buttercup was in 1688

Dictionary Entries Near buttercup

Cite this Entry

“Buttercup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buttercup. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


but·​ter·​cup ˈbət-ər-ˌkəp How to pronounce buttercup (audio)
: any of a genus of herbs having cuplike yellow flowers

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