Meaning of BUTTON in English

I. ˈbət ə n noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English boton, from Middle French boton, bouton, from Old French, from boter, bouter to strike, thrust — more at butt (to thrust)


a. : a disk, ball, or device of other shape having holes or a shank by which it is sewn or secured to an article (as of clothing or upholstery) and that is used as a fastener by passing it through a buttonhole or loop or as a trimming and is made of glass, shell, bone, wood, leather, or cloth

on Fortune's Cap, we are not the very Button — Shakespeare

b. : an ornament or badge of similar shape often of metal with a stamped design or of plastic with a slogan imprinted on the face

c. : a thing of slight value

not worth a button

d. : a unit of one inch used in determining length of gloves and measured from base of thumb towards wrist

a 12- button glove reaches nearly to the elbow

e. buttons plural but singular in construction

[so called from the buttons on his livery]

now chiefly Britain : page , bellboy

2. : any of various parts or growths of plants resembling buttons: as

a. : bud

b. : the fruit of a rose or the flower head of one of the Compositae

a button chrysanthemum

c. : a small round seed vessel

d. : an immature whole mushroom ; especially : one just before expansion of the pileus

e. : an abnormally small fruit

f. : an onion bulb or a garlic clove

3. : a small knob or piece resembling a button in shape: as

a. : an incipient or stunted growth of horn (as in the calf or stag) — see scur

b. buttons plural : dung especially of a sheep

c. : the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle

d. : a uterine cotyledon

e. : a small mass or globule of metal remaining after fusion (as at the bottom of a crucible or cupel)

4. West : youngster , boy

5. : a device suggestive of a button: as

a. : an oblong or elongated piece of wood or metal turning on a nail, pin, or screw (as to fasten a door or window)

b. : a leather washer for a nail or screw

c. : push button

d. : the knob in the end block to which the tailpiece of a stringed instrument (as a violin) is anchored

e. : a marker in the pavement indicating a proper pivoting point for traffic or one of a set marking vehicle or pedestrian lanes

f. : a leather ring running along the reins of a bridle for tightening or loosening it

g. : a guard on the tip of a fencing foil

h. : one of the push buttons on a musical instrument (as an accordion)

i. : the earpiece of a hearing aid

6. slang : the point of the chin especially as the target for a knockout blow

the next punch landed square on the button

7. : a small white spot on the throat or chest of a solid-colored cat

8. buttons plural , slang : wits

hasn't got all his buttons

- on the button

II. verb

( buttoned ; buttoned ; buttoning ˈbət( ə )niŋ ; buttons )

Etymology: Middle English botonen, from Middle French botoner, from Old French, from boton, n., button

transitive verb

1. : to furnish or decorate with buttons


a. : to pass (a button) through a buttonhole or loop

b. : to fasten, secure, or close with a button — often used with up

button up your overcoat

he buttoned his brother's jacket

3. : to close (the lips) to prevent speech

keep your lip buttoned about this business

intransitive verb

1. : to have buttons for fastening

this jacket buttons at the side


a. of fruit : to form buttons

b. : to head prematurely (as of cauliflower)

III. noun

1. : a mescal button chewed for its hallucinogenic effect

2. : a button that has the real or symbolic capability of initiating a nuclear attack

3. : a hidden sensitivity that can be manipulated by another person to produce a desired response

really knows how to push her buttons

4. : a usually box-shaped icon on a computer screen that initiates a specific software function when clicked on with a mouse

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.