20th-century coinage, from the Italian term of endearment cara ‘beloved’ or the Irish Gaelic vocabulary word cara ‘friend’. This is not normally used as a given name in Italy, where such innovations are held in check by the hostility of the Roman Catholic Church to baptismal names that have not been borne by saints.
English (Lancashire and Yorkshire): habitational name from places named Butterworth in Lancashire (near Rochdale) and in West Yorkshire. Both are so named with Old English butere ‘butter’ + worð ‘enclosure’. The surname is recorded from an early date in each of these two places; it probably arose independently in each.