Trend Watch

Batten

When:

Lookups spiked on Friday, August 26, 2011.

Why:

As Hurricane Irene approached the U.S., people in the storm's path were frequently advised to "batten down the hatches."

Today, that phrase means "prepare" – often for a literal storm (e.g. Irene) or a figurative one (e.g. someone's tempestuous mood).

A batten is a strip of wood used to connect or reinforce something, or to secure it tightly. The phrase "batten down the hatches" originally meant to prepare a ship for stormy weather by closing and covering openings.

Photo: Official Navy Page / flickr

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