First found in Prussia, where the name emerged in medieval times as one of the notable families of the region.
After the forces of Strongbow invaded Ireland they discovered that the Irish had their own system of hereditary surnames. Although the two naming systems had many similarities, ocupational surnames, such as Butler were much more common to the Anglo-Norman culture of the Strongbownians. Occupational surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the initial name bearer. The prefix le, meaning the, in French was often used by the early Strongbownians to link a person's first and name and surname. Eventually these prefixes were dropped or became fused onto the beginning of the surname. The surname came from a common occupational name for a wine steward or the chief servant of a medieval household. In royal households, the title denoted a high-ranking officer whose duties as a wine steward were merely nominal. The surname Butler is derived from Anglo-French butuiller, which comes from the Old French word bouteillier. These words are ultimately derived from the Latin word buticularius, which comes from the word buticula, which means bottle and is a diminutive of the word buttis, which means cask. The Gaelic form of the surname Butler is de Buitléir.