buttonhole

[ buht-n-hohl ]
/ ˈbʌt nˌhoʊl /
|

noun

the hole, slit, or loop through which a button is passed and by which it is secured.
Chiefly British. a boutonniere.
Surgery. a short, straight incision through the wall of a cavity or a canal.

verb (used with object), but·ton·holed, but·ton·hol·ing.

to sew with a buttonhole stitch.
to make buttonholes in.
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.

Nearby words

  1. button-through,
  2. buttonball,
  3. buttonbush,
  4. buttoned up,
  5. buttoned-up,
  6. buttonhole someone,
  7. buttonhole stitch,
  8. buttonhook,
  9. buttonless,
  10. buttonmold

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for button-hole


British Dictionary definitions for button-hole

buttonhole

/ (ˈbʌtənˌhəʊl) /

noun

a slit in a garment, etc, through which a button is passed to fasten two surfaces together
a flower or small bunch of flowers worn pinned to the lapel or in the buttonhole, esp at weddings, formal dances, etcUS name: boutonniere

verb (tr)

to detain (a person) in conversation
to make buttonholes in
to sew with buttonhole stitch
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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for button-hole

buttonhole

[ bŭtn-hōl′ ]

n.

A short straight surgical cut made through the wall of a cavity or canal.
The contraction of an orifice down to a narrow slit, as in mitral stenosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.