A "buttload" is apparently a formal unit of imperial measurement

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/24/a-buttload-is-apparently-a.html

17 Likes

This is actually a great factoid to add to my repertoire of useless trivia—Thanks!

During your research of barrels, by the way, you must surely have run across the definition of a bunghole? (Link is SFW.)

Also, butts lol

12 Likes

One Butt-load is the SI UNIT of Malmsey; being exactly sufficient to drown one Duke of Clarence.

Meanwhile, it is unclear how many lampreys form a surfeit.

17 Likes

So, where does “shit-ton” fit in this scenario?

23 Likes

I did know this actually :smiley: i love dropping this factoid on friends, i think i last did that at the start of the year to some online friends on our Discord server. Another odd unit applied towards casks is hogshead, i do not remember where or when i picked that factoid up but there it is.

There’s also a joke petition from ages ago where someone was trying to get Hella to be a real thing. Sadly that didn’t get anywhere.

4 Likes

Maybe metric crapton is next? :wink:

6 Likes

Well, it’s always been a barrel as well as a euphemism for bum or arse, if not longer than it’s more familiar use.

I might have assumed that the term ‘water butt’ (for catching rainwater for use in the garden) would have been common enough to inform on this point. But maybe USians don’t use that term?

5 Likes

The position of Poet Laureate to to UK monarch grants an annual stipend of £5,750 and a “butt of sack”, which is equivalent to about 600 bottles of sherry.

7 Likes

That is a shitload of sherry.

6 Likes

13 Likes

Never heard of the term myself, there is a possibility its come up but i don’t think i’ve heard or read it.

Unrelated but related to the thread:

In Spanish i’ve heard friends and relatives mention bottles of liquor as a “bota” (aka: boot) which always struck me as weird and figured it was one of those weird colloquialisms that have always been around, but seeing the info about the etymology for the word Butt being derived from Botte which means boot makes total sense.

4 Likes

Buttloads? Bungholes?

image

10 Likes

Nope, “rain barrel” seems to be the USian term.

4 Likes

Figures. But you’d be hard put to find that obvious term used in the UK. It’s always ‘water butt’.

4 Likes

Punning on “butts” may be pretty old, per this verse from The Fair Maid of Islington:

Although I hired a cellar of her
And the possession was mine
I ne’er put anything into it
But one small pipe of wine
This fair maid being ripe of wit
She straight replied again
There lay two butts at the cellar door
Why did you not roll them in?

6 Likes

Oh gods, there are so many words in English that actually have two or three different roots but which became homonyms with the same or similar spelling. But “butt” has to be one of the worst. There are something like six different meanings, with different roots, a few of which may ultimately have the same Germanic roots, but came to English via different routes (Old Norse vs. Frankish). I’d never even heard of “butt” in the context of flat fish - I’ve certainly never heard the term “butt-woman” as a term for a woman who sells fish…

Etymology online ties the “butt” in pork butt to a word of Germanic origin that meant “thick end,” not the Latin for cask. Same with the butt in “cigarette butt.” Weirdly, the Germanic root seems to also come into play for the verb “butt” - to strike with the head - somehow. Being the “butt” of a joke seems related, but via a French word of Germanic origin. The evolution of language gets so weird.

12 Likes

I remember reading about this (and hogsheads) in Swiss Family Robinson, then straightaway forgot again.

4 Likes

That’s 1.6 bottles of sherry each day! Blimey!

“If you need the Poet Laureate you’ll find him under a park bench with the winos.”

4 Likes

Those make a great list of character names; maybe the 10 Dwarves?

4 Likes

No surprise: A tun weighs about a ton.

2 Likes