Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

buttonhole

[buht-n-hohl]
noun
  1. the hole, slit, or loop through which a button is passed and by which it is secured.
  2. Chiefly British. a boutonniere.
  3. Surgery. a short, straight incision through the wall of a cavity or a canal.
Show More
verb (used with object), but·ton·holed, but·ton·hol·ing.
  1. to sew with a buttonhole stitch.
  2. to make buttonholes in.
  3. to hold by the buttonhole or otherwise abruptly detain (someone) in conversation: The reporter tried to buttonhole the mayor for a statement on the bus strike.
Show More

Origin of buttonhole

First recorded in 1555–65; button + hole
Related formsbut·ton·hol·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for button-hole

Historical Examples

  • The twentieth brought a button-hole, and over this the inquest was held.

    Punchinello, Vol. 1. No. 20, August 13, 1870

    Various

  • Not an organ in its right place, and a camelia in his button-hole!

  • The Baron plucked one of them, and wore it in his button-hole on the return journey.

  • If you should work it perfectly horizontal, it is the same as button-hole stitch.

  • One evening he appeared with a red flower in his button-hole.

    Within the Tides

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for button-hole

buttonhole

noun
  1. a slit in a garment, etc, through which a button is passed to fasten two surfaces together
  2. a flower or small bunch of flowers worn pinned to the lapel or in the buttonhole, esp at weddings, formal dances, etcUS name: boutonniere
Show More
verb (tr)
  1. to detain (a person) in conversation
  2. to make buttonholes in
  3. to sew with buttonhole stitch
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for button-hole

n.

1560s, from button (n.) + hole (n.). The verb, also buttonhole, meaning "to detain (someone) in conversation against his will" (1862) was earlier button-hold (1834), from button-holder (1806, in this sense). The image is of holding someone by the coat-button so as to detain him.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

button-hole in Medicine

buttonhole

(bŭtn-hōl′)
n.
  1. A short straight surgical cut made through the wall of a cavity or canal.
  2. The contraction of an orifice down to a narrow slit, as in mitral stenosis.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.