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

  • adj. Having the ends of the collar fastened down by buttons: a button-down shirt.
  • adj. Conservative, conventional, or unimaginative: "a colorful character in the buttoned-down, dull-gray world of business” ( Newsweek).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a collar, able to be buttoned down to the shirt, as over a necktie.
  • adj. Serious; staid; businesslike.
  • adj. Conservative; conventional; unimaginative.
  • n. A shirt with a button-down collar

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

  • adj. unimaginatively conventional
  • adj. of a shirt; having the ends of the collar fastened down by buttons


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • At 11:30, Pastor Rick takes the stage, dressed in a loose, short-sleeved button-down shirt and black cotton chinos.

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  • Charlie Wilson was a big customer with an unusual order: button-down collar, French cuffs, double pockets no button and epaulettes that he would, curiously, thread his suspenders through.

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  • Come August, they'll offer the company's first two ready-to-wear dress shirts: a button-down oxford in blue and white and a wide-spread collar with single button cuffs, available in 14 fabrics.

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  • "Not even two seconds," says the 55-year-old Mr. Sch ä fer, who had switched out of a white shirt embroi dered with his family bakery's insignia into a less conspicuous checkered button-down for the stealth fact-finding mission.

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  • Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla turned button-down technocrat with expertise in everything from energy to high finance, comfortably won Brazil's presidency Sunday in a contest that demonstrated voter loyalty to the man who handpicked her for the job, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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  • Yet right down to his white sneakers, Edmondson is dressed in a jean jacket, jeans and button-down jean shirt.

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  • She was a fairly serious woman, dressed in gray slacks and a sensible white button-down shirt, with a pair of bifocals hanging from a chain around her neck.

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  • Avery may prefer beat-up sneakers and baggy shorts to the usual professional apparel—he complains loudly when forced to wear a button-down shirt for an upscale Boston antiques show—but what he lacks in polish he makes up for in discernment.

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  • I think of my wardrobe full of button-down shirts, the shirts I wear to work.

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  • Italian pinstripe designer suits, a button-down collar, and French cuffs do not a complete outfit make.

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