Did You Know?: Bring Back the Butt
Did you know that a “butt load” is an actual measurable unit? No, seriously, it really is. Like many words in the English language, “butt” has several meanings beyond booty and what we would like to do with our head when someone is in our way. A butt is a cask used to hold wine or other liquid. A butt is also an imperial unit of measure for liquid roughly equal to 130 US gallons or 491 liters. Thus, a butt load would be several butts in transport. A load of butts if you will.
Imperial Marching Orders
Referring to a vessel of delicious ale or wine as a butt is not part of the daily vernacular in the United States. One might think that the Brits measure their booze by the butt since they also weigh things by stones even though they are supposed to be using the metric system. They also measure their beer by the pint, which is also part of the imperial system. We see you, UK. However, butt is not used in the United Kingdom either. Butt as a cask or measurement was part of late Middle English spoken in the late 15th century and is not part of our modern language.
Here in the United States we are used to being the odd ducks with our special US Customary measurement system. It isn’t exactly the imperial system, but close. Our system is nowhere near as logical as the metric system. It is our own and because of that, we should bring back the butt. You can start by sharing the tidbits you learn here with your friends and family. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Butts and hogshead added to daily speech to name just two.
Campaign to Bring Back the Butt
So, next time your co-worker says they have a butt load of work to do, do not giggle like Beavis and/or Butthead. Wisely ask them if that is roughly equivalent to two hogsheads. When said workmate tells you to shove off back to Hogwarts, inform them that you are speaking of a butt. Two hogsheads, 126 gallons, one butt of what could be delicious butter beer. Your fun hating co-worker needs to get on the campaign to Bring Back the Butt.