• 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.
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

Related Words for buttonholing

urge, sue, force, worry, demand, push, assail, squeeze, petition, harass, hound, plague, pester, beleaguer, confront, annoy, buttonhole, apprehend, delay, confine

Examples from the Web for buttonholing

Historical Examples of buttonholing

  • Remember that the wider the buttonholing the more padding will be necessary.

    The Library of Work and Play: Needlecraft

    Effie Archer Archer

  • Work a row of buttonholing about a quarter of an inch apart.

  • Loops are made by buttonholing very closely over several foundation threads, making the purl on the outside edge.

    Textiles and Clothing

    Kate Heintz Watson

  • In all this piece of work there is to be noted a great deal of buttonholing and darning.

    Jacobean Embroidery

    Ada Wentworth Fitzwilliam and A. F. Morris Hands

  • Buttonholing him with his hook, Cap'en Tommy opened his little plot.

British Dictionary definitions for buttonholing


  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

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