View synonyms for button



[ buht-n ]


  1. a small disk, knob, or the like for sewing or otherwise attaching to an article, as of clothing, serving as a fastening when passed through a buttonhole or loop.
  2. anything resembling a button, especially in being small and round, as any of various candies, ornaments, tags, identification badges, reflectors, markers, etc.
  3. a badge or emblem bearing a name, slogan, identifying figure, etc., for wear on the lapel, dress, etc.:

    campaign buttons.

  4. any small knob or disk pressed to activate an electric circuit, release a spring, or otherwise operate or open a machine, small door, toy, etc.
  5. Botany. a bud or other protuberant part of a plant.
  6. Mycology.
    1. a young or undeveloped mushroom.
    2. any protuberant part of a fungus.
  7. Zoology. any of various small parts or structures resembling a button, as the rattle at the tip of the tail in a very young rattlesnake.
  8. Boxing Informal. the point of the chin.
  9. Also called turn button. a fastener for a door, window, etc., having two arms and rotating on a pivot that is attached to the frame.
  10. Metallurgy. (in assaying) a small globule or lump of metal at the bottom of a crucible after fusion.
  11. Fencing. the protective, blunting knob fixed to the point of a foil.
  12. Horology. crown ( def 19 ).
  13. Computers. (in a graphical user interface) a small, button-shaped or clearly defined area that the user can click on or touch to choose an option.

verb (used with object)

  1. to fasten with a button or buttons:

    She quickly buttoned her coat.

  2. to insert (a button) in a buttonhole or loop:

    He buttoned the top button of his shirt.

  3. to provide (something) with a button or buttons.

verb (used without object)

  1. to be capable of being buttoned:

    This coat buttons, but that one zips.



[ buht-n ]


  1. Richard Tot·ten [tot, -n], Dick, born 1929, U.S. figure skater.


/ ˈbʌtən /


  1. a disc or knob of plastic, wood, etc, attached to a garment, etc, usually for fastening two surfaces together by passing it through a buttonhole or loop
  2. a small round object, such as any of various sweets, decorations, or badges
  3. a small disc that completes an electric circuit when pushed, as one that operates a doorbell or machine
  4. a symbolic representation of a button on the screen of a computer that is notionally depressed by manipulating the mouse to initiate an action
  5. biology any rounded knoblike part or organ, such as an unripe mushroom
  6. fencing the protective knob fixed to the point of a foil
  7. a small amount of metal, usually lead, with which gold or silver is fused, thus concentrating it during assaying
  8. the piece of a weld that pulls out during the destructive testing of spot welds
  9. rowing a projection around the loom of an oar that prevents it slipping through the rowlock
  10. an object of no value (esp in the phrase not worth a button )
  11. slang.
    intellect; mental capacity (in such phrases as a button short , to have all one's buttons , etc)
  12. on the button informal.
    exactly; precisely


  1. to fasten with a button or buttons
  2. tr to provide with buttons
  3. tr fencing to hit (an opponent) with the button of one's foil
  4. button one's lip or button up one's lip or button one's mouth or button up one's mouth
    to stop talking: often imperative

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Derived Forms

  • ˈbuttony, adjective
  • ˈbuttoner, noun
  • ˈbuttonless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • button·er noun
  • button·like adjective
  • mis·button verb (used with object)
  • mis·buttoned adjective
  • re·button verb (used with object)
  • well-buttoned adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of button1

1275–1325; Middle English boto ( u ) n < Anglo-French: rosehip, button, stud; Middle French boton, equivalent to boter to butt 3 + -on noun suffix

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Word History and Origins

Origin of button1

C14: from Old French boton , from boter to thrust, butt, of Germanic origin; see butt ³

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. button up, Informal.
    1. Also button one's lip. to become or keep silent.
    2. to fasten securely; close up:

      Within a short time, everything on the submarine was buttoned up.

    3. to fasten fully or put on, especially an outer garment:

      Button up before going out.

    4. to complete successfully; finish:

      The report is all buttoned up.

  2. have all one's buttons, Informal. to be mentally competent, alert, and sane; have all one's wits:

    At 106 she still has all her buttons.

  3. on the button, Informal. exactly as desired, expected, specified, etc.:

    The prediction for snow was right on the button.

More idioms and phrases containing button

  • cute as a button
  • have all one's buttons
  • on the button
  • push (press) someone's buttons
  • push the panic button

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Example Sentences

Preschoolers press the buttons on the head of the Fisher Price Code 'n Learn Kinderbot to tell the machine to carry out basic movements, like rolling forward.

When it comes to a speedy camera launch, most Android phones let you double-tap the power button to launch the camera.

Apple chose to put the button on top so that the iPad Air’s display could “extend to all sides,” Legros said.

From Fortune

Choose the frozen program and click on the End Task button in the bottom right.

A revised iPad Air, which typically starts at $500, will follow the iPad Pro models and Apple’s phones in ditching the home button.

From Fortune

Gay marriage was the hot-button fight on the left and right.

Clad in a blue, striped button-down, a silver watch adorning his left wrist, Huckabee beams on the cover.

In a hot-button cover story interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence explained it best.

There is a disconnect, which allows for some distance between his actions and your button presses.

I pressed the dime-sized rubber button on my vest, which was linked to my radio.

"I verily believe they're gone to look at my button," cried Davy, beginning to laugh, in spite of his fears.

Button Gwinnett, one of the signers, died of a wound received in a duel.

They are brown, ovoid in shape, about 50 long, and have a button-like projection at each end (Fig. 101).

This is then suspended from a button on the trousers so that the bottle rests against the skin of the inguinal region.

As soon as the door had closed, Jack Carlson bounded back to his desk, touched a button on an inter-office communications box.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.