[ buht-n-hohl ]
See synonyms for: buttonholebuttonholedbuttonholing 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.

  1. 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.
  1. to sew with a buttonhole stitch.

  2. to make buttonholes in.

  1. 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.

Origin of buttonhole

First recorded in 1555–65; button + hole

Other words from buttonhole

  • but·ton·hol·er, noun

Words Nearby buttonhole

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use buttonhole in a sentence

  • Cut the buttonhole slot, then punch a hole at the end with an ordinary belt punch.

  • In making the buttonhole stitch, keep the needle close against the metal edge of the guide, as shown.

  • It is almost impossible to make a perfect buttonhole in the ordinary manner by hand without a guide.

  • "You will find out by and by," said Uncle William, coming in with a red rose in his buttonhole.

    The Story of the Big Front Door | Mary Finley Leonard

British Dictionary definitions for buttonhole


/ (ˈbʌtənˌhəʊl) /

  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, etc: US name: boutonniere

  1. to detain (a person) in conversation

  2. to make buttonholes in

  1. 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