[ buh-ton, ba-, bat-n ]
See synonyms for baton on
  1. Music. a wand used by a conductor.

  2. a rod of lightweight metal fitted with a weighted bulb at each end and carried and twirled by a drum major or majorette.

  1. Track. a hollow rod of wood, paper, or plastic that is passed during a race from one member of a relay team to the next in a prescribed area.

  2. a staff, club, or truncheon, especially one serving as a mark of office or authority.

  3. Heraldry.

    • a diminutive of the bend sinister, couped at the extremities: used in England as a mark of bastardy.

    • a similar diminutive of the ordinary bend.

Origin of baton

1540–50; <Middle French bâton,Old French baston<Vulgar Latin *bastōn- (stem of *bastō) stick, club; compare Late Latin bastum staff

Other words for baton

Words Nearby baton Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use baton in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for baton


/ (ˈbætən, -tɒn) /

  1. a thin stick used by the conductor of an orchestra, choir, etc, to indicate rhythm or expression

    • a short stick carried for use as a weapon, as by a policeman; truncheon

    • (as modifier): a baton charge

  1. athletics a short bar carried by a competitor in a relay race and transferred to the next runner at the end of each stage

  2. a long stick with a knob on one end, carried, twirled, and thrown up and down by a drum major or drum majorette, esp at the head of a parade

  3. a staff or club carried by an official as a symbol of authority

  4. heraldry a single narrow diagonal line superimposed on all other charges, esp one curtailed at each end, signifying a bastard line

Origin of baton

C16: from French bâton, from Late Latin bastum rod, probably ultimately from Greek bastazein to lift up, carry

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

Cultural definitions for baton


A stick used by some conductors of choruses or orchestras. The baton is traditionally used to indicate the tempo of the music.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.