BUTTE (O. Fr. butte, a hillock or rising ground), a word used in the western states of North America for a flat-topped hill surrounded by a steep escarpment from which a slope descends to the plain. It is sometimes used for "an elevation higher than a hill but not high enough for a mountain." The butte capped by a horizontal platform of hard rock is characteristic of the arid plateau region of the west of North America.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)