butter

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lalique

New Member
Poland Polish
Hello!
I have been asked by a student what is the quantifier used with 'butter' that defines
the blocks of butter we usually buy. My first answer was 'a bar of butter'. But it sounded weird. Later on, I looked up butter and bar in my dictionaries, but I didn't find any confirmation that these two words go together. I found 'knob of butter', but a knob isn't a regular form. As for examples of use of 'bar', I found 'bar of soap', 'bar of chocolate'. Nothing about butter. I came across 'bar of butter' in the internet, but I don't consider it a reliable resource. An American friend said there isn't such a word, that she only uses 'butter', if she had to define the shape, she would say 'block', as I've written above. I would be grateful for any comments.
 
  • katie_here

    Senior Member
    England/English
    A pat of butter.

    (or a pack)

    A pat of butter comes from the old way of making butter. ONce the milk had been churned and made into butter, the dairymaid (or whoever) would pat the butter into its oblong shape using butter paddles (or pats) to make the shape. It's now wrapped in greaseproof paper and called a pack of butter.
     

    yoyo53

    Member
    Hebrew,German
    further: we in Australia talk about a packet of butter. When it is wrapped in paper. Or a tub of butter when it is the easy spread variety and comes in a plastic tub.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hello lalique, and welcome to WordReference.
    lalique said:
    I have been asked by a student what is the quantifier used with 'butter' that defines
    the blocks of butter we usually buy.
    There is no specific term for the lump of butter that I buy in the shop. Isn't that strange :)
    The message from MrsP says "Get butter" or "Get some butter".
    It comes in a 500g pack. Before metrication it came in a 1lb pack and it was called "a pound of butter" :)
     

    katie_here

    Senior Member
    England/English
    Hello lalique, and welcome to WordReference.

    There is no specific term for the lump of butter that I buy in the shop. Isn't that strange :)
    The message from MrsP says "Get butter" or "Get some butter".
    It comes in a 500g pack. Before metrication it came in a 1lb pack and it was called "a pound of butter" :)
    What about Lurpak (it's a pack of butter!). :)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, lalique.

    Butter in the U.S. is normally sold by the pound, which might be one piece or divided into quarter-pound sticks.

    Cookbooks, on the other hand, normally specify quantities in cups or tablespoons.

    A quarter-pound stick of butter is about 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    When I buy butter, I buy a "pound of butter", as Panj described. The pound of butter is usually divided into 1/4-pound "sticks" of butter. If I were served butter at a dinner table, and the butter had been divided into very small, flat squares (or perhaps small molded shapes) so that one of them would be the appropriate amount to spread on a slice of bread, I would call that small piece of butter a "pat of butter".
     

    lalique

    New Member
    Poland Polish
    Thank you all for your comments, they were very helpful. I can see clearly now that there is no strict equivalent of the word used in Polish for 'supermarket butter'. The Polish word means 'cube', although this term is not precise, because the shape is not a perfect cube.
     

    andrzejewskil

    Member
    Polish
    Hi there,

    How do we count butter?
    I am not referring here to knob, dollop and so forth issues,
    I am after a wrapped up "box" of butter (not tub), usually 200 - 250 gram.

    Is it a bar of butter?
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    In the US, a stick of butter is the common packaging unit, and it is 1/2 cup, which is ~113 grams.
    http://whyfiles.org/shorties/075butter_pollut/images/small_stick.gif

    If, however, I were in another country and bought a solid mass of butter that had a larger volume than our US "stick" of butter, I might refer to it as a "block" of butter.

    I'd consider a "pat" of butter to be a small slice of butter that you'd put on your food.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    1. How do we count butter?
    I am not referring here to knob, dollop and so forth issues,
    2. I am after a wrapped up "box" of butter (not tub), usually 200 - 250 gram.

    Is it a bar of butter?
    AE answers:

    1. We don't count butter in AE. We measure it.
    2. Typically butter is bought and sold by the pound, and less frequently in 1/2 pound
    blocks. Once purchased and taken home to the kitchen, it is referred to as sticks. While it is possible to buy a solid one pound block, it is more common to find it in quarter pound sticks, four to the box.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    We don't really count butter in the Uk either, although I have heard "a packet of butter" and "a pack of butter", "a block of butter".

    Butter is usually sold in 250g and 500g quantities here (around half a pound, and a pound). If I were asking someone to get me some butter from the shop, I would say, "Could you get me half a pound/a small pack of butter?". Even though we have now "gone metric", many people over, say, 35 will still refer to "imperial" or non-metric quantities.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I go to a wholesale buyers club and buy my butter in foil wrapped pieces about the size of a plastic domino.

    These are sold in "pieces" (500 per carton) with the net weight listed also (but printed much smaller).

    I don't have the carton they came in so I don't know what they are calling the "pieces". I like "dominoes" and I think I will use that from now on.

    "May I have a couple of dominoes of butter please?"
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Here we go again.
    Please read this thread from the beginning because today's question on this topic has been added to the previous thread on the same topic.

    Time for another reminder of the need to search for previous threads before posting a new one.
    Forum Rule #1:
    Look for the answer first.
    Check the WordReference dictionaries if available (and scroll down for a list of related threads)
    or use the forum's search function.
    It's so very easy to look for previous threads it amazes me that people don't do it.
     
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