from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A generally disk-shaped fastener used to join two parts of a garment by fitting through a buttonhole or loop.
  • noun Such an object used for decoration.
  • noun Any of various objects resembling a button, especially.
  • noun A push-button switch.
  • noun The blunt tip of a fencing foil.
  • noun A fused metal or glass globule.
  • noun In graphical user interface systems, a well-defined area within the interface that is clicked to select a command.
  • noun In a hypertext database, an icon that when selected allows a user to view a particular associated object.
  • noun Any of various knoblike structures of an organism, especially.
  • noun An immature, unexpanded mushroom.
  • noun The tip of a rattlesnake's rattle.
  • noun A usually round flat badge that bears a design or printed information and is typically pinned to a garment.
  • noun Informal The end of the chin, regarded as the point of impact for a punch.
  • intransitive verb To fasten with buttons.
  • intransitive verb To decorate or furnish with buttons.
  • intransitive verb Informal To close (the lips or mouth).
  • intransitive verb To be or be capable of being fastened with buttons.
  • idiom (on the button) Exactly; precisely.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To attach a button or buttons to.
  • To fasten with a button or buttons; secure, or join the parts or edges of, with buttons: often followed by up: as, to button up a waistcoat.
  • To be capable of being buttoned.
  • noun A finger-knob or key on the concertina and some accordions.
  • noun In pathology, any small, rounded, circumscribed elevation on the cutaneous or mucous surface.
  • To bud or form imperfect heads, offsets, rosettes, tubers, or bulbs: for example, the cauliflower buttons when the head sends up imperfect and irregular glomerules, thus destroying the symmetry and solidity of the head.
  • noun Any knob or ball fastened to another body; specifically, such an object used to secure together different parts of a garment, to one portion of which it is fastened in such a way that it can be passed through a slit (called a buttonhole) in another portion, or through a loop.
  • noun plural (used as a singular). A page: so called from the buttons, commonly gilt, which adorn his jacket.
  • noun A knob of gold, crystal, coral, ruby, or other precious stone, worn by Chinese officials, both civil and military, on the tops of their hats as a badge of rank; hence, the rank itself: as, a blue button.
  • noun A knob or protuberance resembling a button.
  • noun A bud of a plant.
  • noun A flat or elongated piece of wood or metal, turning on a nail or screw, used to fasten doors, windows, etc.
  • noun A small round mass of metal lying at the bottom of a crucible or cupel after fusion.
  • noun In an organ, a small round piece of leather which, when screwed on the tapped wire of a tracker, prevents it from jumping out of place.
  • noun A ring of leather through which the reins of a bridle pass, and which runs along the length of the reins.
  • noun In zoology: The terminal segment of the crepitaculum or rattle of a rattlesnake. See crepitaculum.
  • noun In entomology, a knob-like protuberance on the posterior extremity of the larvæ of certain butterflies, also called the anal button or cremaster. Sometimes there is a second one, called the preanal button.
  • noun plural A name given to young mushrooms, such as are used for pickling.
  • noun plural Sheep's dung: sometimes used for dung in general.
  • noun A small cake.
  • noun A person who acts as a decoy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To fasten with a button or buttons; to inclose or make secure with buttons; -- often followed by up.
  • transitive verb obsolete To dress or clothe.
  • intransitive verb To be fastened by a button or buttons.
  • noun A knob; a small ball; a small, roundish mass.
  • noun A catch, of various forms and materials, used to fasten together the different parts of dress, by being attached to one part, and passing through a slit, called a buttonhole, in the other; -- used also for ornament.
  • noun A bud; a germ of a plant.


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

[Middle English, from Old French bouton, from bouter, to thrust, of Germanic origin; see bhau- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French boton (French bouton), itself either from Late Latin *bottōnem, probably ultimately from a Germanic language, or from bouter + -on.



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  • "Anyone got change for a button?"

    - Mr. Burns

    "They took you up to midnight mass and left you in the lurch,

    So you dropped a button in the plate and spewed up in the church"

    - "The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn", The Pogues

    December 22, 2006

  • My daughter's first unequivocal word. There have been ambiguous maybe-words for a while. "Mama"... followed by a string of spittle-inflected vowels while she points at the fridge. But a few days ago she began began grabbing buttons, looking at you soulfully, and saying "button."

    March 6, 2009

  • Oh, wow. That's beautiful. A good choice for a first unequivocal word.

    March 6, 2009

  • That is indeed a great first word.

    It reminds me of a sad/creepy story about my great-grandmother, involving buttons.

    On another note, my nephew's first word was "stereo." And I have a recording of spawn, when it was very young, saying "non-sequitur." Not spawn's first word, but still a remarkably entertaining recording.

    March 6, 2009

  • I'm curious c_b. Did you correct spawn's inevitable mispronunciations as s/he was growing up? Or was your family like mine, where the "grownups" would snicker to themselves each time I butchered epitome and misled, well into my teens? It's no wonder I turned out as weird as I did, all things considered.

    March 6, 2009

  • I think I did both, sionnach, which may account for spawn's weirdness as well as its brilliance. :)

    I think spawn was convinced well into its teens, for example, that cows with any white on them give white milk, while entirely brown/black cows give chocolate milk.

    I even managed, somehow, to explain away strawberry milk, once that started appearing in the grocery stores pre-mixed and the inevitable question arose. I don't recall entirely, but my excuse was something like, "Well, *that* milk has strawberry syrup added to it after it comes out of the cow. And of course you can make chocolate milk that way too, but you don't *have* to, if you have an all-black or all-brown cow."

    March 6, 2009

  • My parents were the opposite, I was constantly corrected on my pronunciation and grammar. And here I am, on Wordie, constantly correcting people.

    March 6, 2009

  • My parents were constantly pronouncing things wrong on purpose just to be funny. Like "fox pass" instead of "faux pas."

    That probably explains a lot.

    March 6, 2009

  • *Let it be noted that my intense (platonic) interspecies internet crush on c_b has just intensified several degrees*

    March 6, 2009

  • *pats fox gently on head with giant paw*

    You know, now every time I see the word misled, I pronounce it "MY-zld." Hilarious. :)

    March 6, 2009