For several years, my long-time fly-fishing buddy Bill and I used a guide on the San Juan River who was quite the character. He would work on his guitar music in the winter, then guide on the San Juan in the spring, summer and fall, living in what we suspect was not much more than a lean-to on the banks of the river. He was a philosophical and gentle soul, and we wonder what has become of him.
One of his passions was Marilyn Monroe, and on one of our outings, he proudly announced he had accumulated a “buttload” of photos and other paraphernalia about her. We interpreted the word “buttload” in the most pejorative of meanings and I have used the word since them to describe a large amount of mostly noxious “stuff.”
Well, it turns out that buttload is a real word. I discovered it by accidentally flipping through an online news post the other day describing things that you probably never knew.
Here’s what I found online from some source I’d never heard of called “Ponder Weasel:”
“A Buttload is an Actual Unit of Measurement. Okay, the measurement isn’t actually a buttload. It is the “butt” that carries historical measuring significance. From the Italian word botte, the word for cask or barrel, the word butt came to into being as a unit to measure wine and other alcoholic beverages.”
There are lots of other citations on the subject on Internet if you choose to waste more time reading them after already wasting time on my post, but suffice to say, it was an unexpected find for me.
Full disclosure: The word does NOT appear in my 10th edition of the Merriam Webster Collegiate dictionary.
So in the future, when you want to sound just a little bit spicy, you can use the word “buttload” in normal conversation. Once the shock to your listener is over, you can then initiate a follow-up conversation to prove how erudite you are about the word’s meaning and origin. And you can thank me a “buttload” for this valuable information.