noun, often attributive \ˈbə-tən\

: a small, usually round piece of plastic, glass, metal, etc., that is sewn to a piece of clothing and is pushed through a loop or hole to fasten one part of the clothing to another part

: a small, usually round sign that has a picture or words on the front and a pin on the back

: a small part of a machine that you push to make the machine work

Full Definition of BUTTON

a :  a small knob or disk secured to an article (as of clothing) and used as a fastener by passing it through a buttonhole or loop
b :  a usually circular metal or plastic badge bearing a stamped design or printed slogan <campaign button>
:  something that resembles a button: as
a :  any of various parts or growths of a plant or of an animal: as
(1) :  bud (2) :  an immature whole mushroom; especially :  button mushroom (3) :  the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle
b :  a small globule of metal remaining after fusion (as in assaying)
c :  a guard on the tip of a fencing foil
a :  push button
b :  something (as a push button) that has the real or symbolic capability of initiating a catastrophe (as a nuclear attack) <has his finger on the button>
c :  a hidden sensitivity that can be manipulated to produce a desired response <knows how to push my buttons>
d :  a usually box-shaped computer icon that initiates a specific software function
:  the point of the chin especially as a target for a knockout blow
but·ton·less \-ləs\ adjective
on the button
:  exactly <arrived at noon on the button>; also :  exactly on target :  on the nose <the estimate was right on the button>

Examples of BUTTON

  1. a dress with buttons down the back
  2. I lost a button on my jacket.
  3. He took off his tie and undid the top button of his shirt.
  4. Will you please push the play button on the CD player?
  5. With a fax machine, you can send a document across the country with the touch of a button.
  6. If the information on the registration form is correct, click the OK button.

Origin of BUTTON

Middle English boton, from Anglo-French butun rose hip, stud, from buter to thrust — more at butt
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Clothing Terms

babushka, brogue, bumbershoot, cravat, dishabille, furbelow, layette, raiment, spectator

Rhymes with BUTTON



: to attach (a button) by passing it through a hole

: to close or fasten (something) with buttons

: to have buttons for fastening

but·tonedbut·ton·ing \ˈbət-niŋ, ˈbə-tən-iŋ\

Full Definition of BUTTON

transitive verb
:  to furnish or decorate with buttons
a :  to pass (a button) through a buttonhole or loop
b :  to close or fasten with buttons —often used with up <button up your overcoat>
a :  to close (the lips) to prevent speech <button your lip>
b :  to close or seal tightly —usually used with up <button up the house for winter>
intransitive verb
:  to have buttons for fastening <this dress buttons at the back>
but·ton·er \ˈbət-nər, ˈbə-tən-ər\ noun

Examples of BUTTON

  1. He rarely buttons the top button on his shirt.
  2. Will you button the baby's jacket for her?
  3. The skirt buttons on the side.

First Known Use of BUTTON

14th century


noun \ˈbət-ən\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of BUTTON

: something that resembles a small knob or disk: as a : the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle b : cotyledon 1


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Small disk or knob used as a fastener or ornament. It usually has holes or a shank through which it is sewn to one side of a garment. It is used to fasten or close the garment when it is passed through a loop or hole in the other side. The ancient Greeks fastened their tunics with buttons and loops. In medieval Europe, garments were laced or fastened together with brooches or clasps until the buttonhole was reinvented in the 13th century. Throughout history, buttons have been made in a range of sizes and materials, some elaborated into miniature works of art.


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