See also: Button

English edit

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈbʌ.tən/, /ˈbʌʔ.n̩/, [ˈbʌʔ.tən], [ˈbʌʔ.tⁿn̩], /ˈbʌt.n̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌtən

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English boton, botoun, from Old French boton (Modern French bouton), from Old French bouter, boter (to push; thrust), ultimately from a Germanic language. Doublet of Biden and beat. More at butt.

Shirt button (sense 1)
Push button (sense 2)
Buttons on a GUI (sense 3)
badge worn on clothes, fixed with a pin (sense 4)
The button of a violin (sense 22).

Noun edit

button (plural buttons)

  1. A knob or disc that is passed through a loop or (buttonhole), serving as a fastener. [from mid-13th c.]
    April fastened the buttons of her overcoat to keep out the wind.
  2. A mechanical device meant to be pressed with a finger in order to open or close an electric circuit or to activate a mechanism.
    Pat pushed the button marked "shred" on the blender.
  3. (graphical user interface) An on-screen control that can be selected as an activator of an attached function.
    Click the button that looks like a house to return to your browser's home page.
  4. (US) A badge worn on clothes, fixed with a pin through the fabric.
    The politician wore a bright yellow button with the slogan "Vote Smart" emblazoned on it.
  5. (botany) A bud.
  6. The head of an unexpanded mushroom.
  7. (slang) The clitoris.
  8. (curling) The center (bullseye) of the house.
  9. (fencing) The soft circular tip at the end of a foil.
  10. (poker) A plastic disk used to represent the person in last position in a poker game; also dealer's button.
  11. (poker) The player who is last to act after the flop, turn and river, who possesses the button.
  12. (archaic) A person who acts as a decoy.
  13. A raised pavement marker to further indicate the presence of a pavement-marking painted stripe.
  14. (aviation) The end of a runway.
    • 1984, Synopses of Aircraft Accidents: Civil Aircraft in Canada, page 42:
      In attempting to touch down on the button of the runway, he misjudged his altitude and struck a pile of rocks short of the runway. The right wheel was torn off and the gear leg bent backwards.
    • 1999, Les Morrison, Of Luck and War, page 69:
      The second and slightly higher aircraft on the approach showed no reaction to this barrage of pyrotechnics and continued blissfully down toward the button of the runway.
  15. (South Africa, slang) A methaqualone tablet (used as a recreational drug).
  16. A piece of wood or metal, usually flat and elongated, turning on a nail or screw, to fasten something, such as a door.
  17. A globule of metal remaining on an assay cupel or in a crucible, after fusion.
  18. A knob; a small ball; a small, roundish mass.
  19. A small white blotch on a cat's coat.
  20. (UK, archaic) A unit of length equal to 112 inch.
  21. (generally with the) The means for initiating a nuclear strike or similar cataclysmic occurrence.
  22. (lutherie) In an instrument of the violin family, the near-semicircular shape extending from the top of the back plate of the instrument, meeting the heel of the neck.
  23. (lutherie) Synonym of endbutton, part of a violin-family instrument.
  24. (lutherie, bowmaking) Synonym of adjuster.
  25. The least amount of care or interest; a whit or jot.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      'She has heard from us this morning,' said Mr. Gamble, grinning on his watch, 'and she knows all by this time, and 'tisn't a button to her.'
    • 1922, Van Tassel Sutphen, In Jeopardy:
      As to that I did not care a button, but I had wanted to hear about Betty, and now her name was barely mentioned.
  26. (television) The punchy or suspenseful line of dialogue that concludes a scene.
    Synonym: blow
    • 2006, David Kukoff, Vault Guide to Television Writing Careers, page 77:
      One thing you definitely don't want to do is write past the button. For example, a scene's natural button might run something like this:
      TONY: That kind of talk is exactly what I'm talking about.
      Whereas an example of writing past the button would sound something like this:
      TONY: That kind of talk is exactly what I'm talking about.
      CARMELLA: Okay. 'Bye.
      TONY: Bye.
  27. (comedy) The final joke at the end of a comedic act (such as a sketch, set, or scene).
    • 2002 November 8, Jean Ann Wright, “Animation Comedy and Gag Writing”, in Animation World Network[2]:
      Scenes usually go out on a laugh line, a stinger or a button. End your script with a twist!
    • 2014 June 18, Daniel Schindel, “3 Comedy Sketches that Changed Key and Peele's Lives”, in Los Angeles Magazine[3]:
      With our show, one thing we wanted to do was give our best effort to always put a button on the scene.
    • 2016 July 12, Jessica Goldstein, “How to best end a comedy sketch? It’s hard to go wrong with gruesome death”, in The Washington Post[4]:
      Is there a best way to end a comedy sketch? Endings — or outs, or buttons as writers call them — are notoriously difficult to nail. The ideal ending needs to be satisfying and surprising while staying true to the comedic game that preceded it.
  28. (slang) A button man; a professional assassin.
    • 1973, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather Part II (screenplay, second draft)
      FREDO: Mikey, why would they ever hit poor old Frankie Five-Angels? I loved that ole sonuvabitch. I remember when he was just a 'button,' when we were kids.
  29. The final segment of a rattlesnake's rattle.
    • 1936, Laurence Monroe Klauber, A Statistical Study of the Rattlesnakes, page 26:
      Hardly a rattler is ever reported in the newspapers unless it is stated to have had "blank rattles and a button". But here button usually means the terminal lobe of the last rattle, even though the string may not be complete, the true button and additional rattles having been lost.
  30. (dated, Southern US) A clove (of garlic).
  31. (zoology) Pedicle; the attachment point for antlers in cervids.
Usage notes edit

For senses 2 and 3, a button is often marked by a verb rather than a noun, and the button itself is named with the verb followed by button. For example, a button to start something is generally called a start button.

Hypernyms edit
  • (graphical user interface): widget
Hyponyms edit
Derived terms edit
Descendants edit
  • German: Button
  • Hindi: बटन (baṭan)
  • Gujarati: બટન (baṭan)
  • Korean: 버튼 (beoteun)
  • Maori: pātene
  • Urdu: بٹن (baṭan)
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See also edit

Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English butonen, botonen, from the noun (see above).

Verb edit

button (third-person singular simple present buttons, present participle buttoning, simple past and past participle buttoned)

  1. (transitive) To fasten with a button. [from late 14th c.]
  2. (intransitive) To be fastened by a button or buttons.
    The coat will not button.
  3. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) (informal) To stop talking.
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of botoun