- to thrive by feeding; grow fat.
- to feed gluttonously or greedily; glut oneself.
- to thrive, prosper, or live in luxury, especially at the expense of others: robber barons who battened on the poor.
- to cause to thrive by or as if by feeding; fatten.
Origin of batten1
- a small board or strip of wood used for various building purposes, as to cover joints between boards, reinforce certain doors, or supply a foundation for lathing.
- a transverse iron or steel strip supporting the flooring strips of a metal fire escape.
- a thin strip of wood inserted in a sail to keep it flat.
- a thin, flat length of wood or metal used for various purposes, as to hold the tarpaulin covering a hatch in place.
- Shipbuilding. a flexible strip of wood used for fairing the lines of a hull on the floor of a mold loft.
- Also called pipe batten.a length of metal pipe hung from the gridiron, for suspending scenery or equipment, as drops, flats, or lighting units.
- a narrow strip of lumber for constructing, reinforcing, or joining flats.
- a similar strip attached to a drop to keep it flat or taut.
- to furnish or bolster with battens.
- Nautical. to cover (a hatch) so as to make watertight (usually followed by down).
- Machinery. to secure (work) to a table or bed for a machining operation.
- Building Trades. to join or assemble (a steel column or the like) with batten plates.
- to suspend (scenery, stage lights, etc.) from a batten.
- to fasten a batten to (a flat or drop).
Origin of batten2
- (in a loom) the swinging frame for holding and positioning the reed.
- a part of the lay of a loom.
- to beat (filling yarn) into place with the batten.
Origin of batten3
- JeanThe Garbo of the Skies, 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: first woman to make solo round-trip flight between England and Australia, 1934–35.
Examples from the Web for batten
He should make one stop in Michigan to batten it down (Wisconsin looks safe, as does Pennsylvania), and maybe New Hampshire.Michael Tomasky on How Obama Can Seal the Deal in the Final Days
November 1, 2012
Pity the poor Zanesvillians who had to batten down the hatches to avoid being eaten by the 18 free-roaming Bengal tigers.Lights, Camera, Cocktails
October 22, 2011
After the stakes were set up we had to batten them together.Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2)
William Delisle Hay
Ivan was not of the type of man to press his popularity and batten upon it.The Genius
Margaret Horton Potter
By the third motion the batten crowds this weft-thread into place.Home Life in Colonial Days
Alice Morse Earle
Scott ordered the men to batten down the curtains on the weather side.Four Young Explorers
My purpose was to return on deck—strike off the batten—and set the grating free.Ran Away to Sea
- a sawn strip of wood used in building to cover joints, provide a fixing for tiles or slates, support lathing, etc
- a long narrow board used for flooring
- a narrow flat length of wood or plastic inserted in pockets of a sail to give it proper shape
- a lath used for holding a tarpaulin along the side of a raised hatch on a ship
- a row of lights
- the strip or bar supporting them
- Also called: dropper NZ an upright part of a fence made of wood or other material, designed to keep wires at equal distances apart
- (tr) to furnish or strengthen with battens
- batten down the hatches
- to use battens in nailing a tarpaulin over a hatch on a ship to make it secure
- to prepare for action, a crisis, etc
- (intr usually foll by on) to thrive, esp at the expense of someone elseto batten on the needy
- Jean . 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: the first woman to fly single-handed from Australia to Britain (1935)
Word Origin and History for batten
"strip of wood (especially used to fasten canvas over ships' hatches)," 1650s, anglicized variant of baton "a stick, a staff" (see baton). Nautical use attested from 1769.
"to improve; to fatten," 1590s, probably representing an English dialectal survival of Old Norse batna "improve" (cf. Old English batian, Old Frisian batia, Old High German bazen, Gothic gabatnan "to become better, avail, benefit," Old English bet "better;" cf. also boot (v.)). Related: Battened; battening.
"to furnish with battens," 1775, from batten (n.); phrase batten down recorded from 1823. Related: Battened; battening.