• synonyms


See more synonyms for buttonhole on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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.
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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

Related Words for buttonhole

pot, wreath, garland, vase, urge, sue, force, worry, demand, push, assail, squeeze, petition, harass, hound, plague, pester, beleaguer, confront, annoy

Examples from the Web for buttonhole

Historical Examples of buttonhole

  • He pulled it out of his buttonhole and tossed it into the fire-place.

    The Greater Inclination

    Edith Wharton

  • Arthur had a fine rose in his buttonhole and looked profoundly thoughtful.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • In his mouth was a cigarette, and in his buttonhole a pink carnation.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Let him go with his flower in his buttonhole and dance somewhere else.

  • He was very dapper in a new tailcoat and a flower in his buttonhole.


    Jane Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for buttonhole


  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
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verb (tr)
  1. to detain (a person) in conversation
  2. to make buttonholes in
  3. to sew with buttonhole stitch
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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

buttonhole in Medicine


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