from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A clasp for fastening two ends, as of straps or a belt, in which a device attached to one of the ends is fitted or coupled to the other.
  • n. An ornament that resembles this clasp, such as a metal square on a shoe or hat.
  • n. An instance of bending, warping, or crumpling; a bend or bulge.
  • transitive v. To fasten with a buckle.
  • transitive v. To cause to bend, warp, or crumple.
  • intransitive v. To become fastened with a buckle.
  • intransitive v. To bend, warp, or crumple, as under pressure or heat.
  • intransitive v. To give way; collapse: My knees buckled with fear.
  • intransitive v. To succumb, as to exhaustion or authority; give in: finally buckled under the excessive demands of the job.
  • buckle down To apply oneself with determination.
  • buckle up To use a safety belt, especially in an automobile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A clasp used for fastening two things together, such as the ends of a belt, or for retaining the end of a strap.
  • n. The brisure of an eighth daughter.
  • n. An upward, elongated displacement of a roof membrane frequently occurring over insulation or deck joints. A buckle may be an indication of movement with the roof assembly.
  • v. To fasten using a buckle.
  • v. To distort or collapse under physical pressure; especially, of a slender structure in compression.
  • v. To give in; to react suddenly or adversely to stress or pressure (of a person).
  • v. To yield; to give way; to cease opposing.
  • v. To enter upon some labour or contest; to join in close fight; to contend.
  • v. To buckle down; to apply oneself.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A device, usually of metal, consisting of a frame with one more movable tongues or catches, used for fastening things together, as parts of dress or harness, by means of a strap passing through the frame and pierced by the tongue.
  • n. A distortion bulge, bend, or kink, as in a saw blade or a plate of sheet metal.
  • n. A curl of hair, esp. a kind of crisp curl formerly worn; also, the state of being curled.
  • n. A contorted expression, as of the face.
  • intransitive v. To bend permanently; to become distorted; to bow; to curl; to kink.
  • intransitive v. To bend out of a true vertical plane, as a wall.
  • intransitive v. To yield; to give way; to cease opposing.
  • intransitive v. To enter upon some labor or contest; to join in close fight; to struggle; to contend.
  • transitive v. To fasten or confine with a buckle or buckles.
  • transitive v. To bend; to cause to kink, or to become distorted.
  • transitive v. To prepare for action; to apply with vigor and earnestness; -- formerly, generally used reflexively, but by mid 20th century, usually used with down; -- .
  • transitive v. To join in marriage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bend; bow.
  • To curl; become wrinkled; shrivel up.
  • To yield assent; agree: with to: as, I can't buckle to that.
  • To bend to something; apply one's self with vigor; engage in with zeal: with to: as, “go, buckle to the law,”
  • To enter upon some labor or contest; struggle; contend: with with.
  • To bend; curl; shrivel as by the application of heat.
  • To fasten with a buckle or buckles.
  • To prepare for action of any kind (a metaphor taken from buckling on armor previous to engaging in battle); hence, to set vigorously to work at anything: with a reflexive pronoun.
  • To join in battle.
  • To confine or limit.
  • To join together; unite in marriage.
  • To marry.
  • To do up (the hair) in curlpapers; curl; crimp. See buckle, n., 3.
  • n. A bend, bulge, or kink, as in a saw-blade.
  • n. A contorted expression of the face.
  • n. Any curl of hair, especially a long curl carefully arranged, and turned toward the head, worn by women in the eighteenth century.
  • n. The condition of being curled, as of hair.
  • n. A clasp consisting of a rectangular or curved rim, with one or more movable tongues secured to the chape at one side or in the middle, and long enough to rest upon the opposite side: used for fastening together two straps or belts or the ends of the same strap, or for some similar purpose.
  • n. In heraldry, same as arming-buckle.
  • n. An iron loop for fastening the blade to the frame of a wood-saw.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bend out of shape, as under pressure or from heat
  • n. fastener that fastens together two ends of a belt or strap; often has loose prong
  • v. fasten with a buckle or buckles
  • v. fold or collapse
  • n. a shape distorted by twisting or folding


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English bokel, from Old French boucle, from Latin buccula, cheek strap of a helmet, diminutive of bucca, cheek.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a frequentative form of buck ("to bend, buckle"), of Dutch Low Saxon or German Low German origin, related to Dutch bukken ("to stoop, bend, yield, submit"), German bücken ("to stoop, bend"), Swedish bocka ("to buck, bow"), equivalent to buck +‎ -le. Compare Middle Dutch buchelen ("to strive, tug under a load"), German dialectal aufbückeln ("to raise or arch the back").


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  • A blueberry buckle is a type of cake that is so laden with fruit that it can actually buckle under its weight.

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  • A contranym: as a verb construction of the noun buckle, which is a device for clasping a belt together, it means "to secure, tighten, hold"; otherwise, it means "to weaken, collapse". (Wikipedia)

    June 6, 2008

  • A buckle is a type of cake made in a single layer with berries added to the batter. It is usually made with blueberries. The topping is similar to a streusel, which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance.

    February 6, 2008