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[uhn-buht-n] /ʌnˈbʌt n/
verb (used with object)
to free (buttons) from buttonholes; unfasten or undo.
to unfasten by or as if by unbuttoning:
to unbutton a jacket.
to disclose (one's feelings, thoughts, etc.) after deliberate or prolonged silence.
verb (used without object)
to unfasten a button or one's buttons.
Origin of unbutton
First recorded in 1275-1325, unbutton is from the Middle English word unbotenen. See un-2, button Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unbutton
Historical Examples
  • Why so anxious about the sit of cloaks; and gloves—whether to button or unbutton?

    Monday or Tuesday Virginia Woolf
  • She saw Richard Crawford unbutton his vest, a little assisted by the Colonel.

    Shoulder-Straps Henry Morford
  • If gossip, then, be a gallows 39matter, let Bell unbutton him for the end.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks
  • His only reaction to this was to step forward and continue to unbutton her blouse.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • Her mother had to unbutton the hard top button but she did all the rest.

    Here and Now Story Book Lucy Sprague Mitchell
  • They did so, and the chambermaids went to the room and began to unbutton the dress.

    Italian Popular Tales

    Thomas Frederick Crane
  • If you'll kindly let me unbutton my coat, I'll show you my star; I'm the city marshal.

    The Eagle's Heart Hamlin Garland
  • Then he commenced to gasp, to suffocate, and he had to unbutton his collar and his belt.

  • Nigel sprang from his horse with a cry of joy, and began to unbutton his doublet.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "Excuse me, but I awoke just as you were about to unbutton your blouse," he said.

    The Devil Joseph O'Brien
British Dictionary definitions for unbutton


to undo by unfastening (the buttons) of (a garment)
(informal) to release or relax (oneself, tension, etc)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unbutton

early 14c., from un- (2) "opposite of" + button (v.). Related: Unbuttoned; unbuttoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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