ba·​ton | \ bə-ˈtän How to pronounce baton (audio) , ba- also ˈba-tᵊn \
plural batons

Definition of baton

1 : cudgel, truncheon specifically : billy club
2 : a staff borne as a symbol of office
3 : a narrow heraldic bend
4 : a slender rod with which a leader directs a band or orchestra
5 : a hollow cylinder carried by each member of a relay team and passed to the succeeding runner
6 : a hollow metal rod with a weighted bulb at one or both ends that is flourished by a drum major or drum majorette
7 : a piece of food that has been cut into a narrow strip that is thicker than a julienned piece of food We cut carrots into slabs, then batons, then dice.— Janet Rausa Fuller

Synonyms for baton


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of baton in a Sentence

The majorette twirled the baton. the detainee claimed that the police had beat him with their batons even after he had been shackled
Recent Examples on the Web During the opening ceremony, Charles read a special message from his mother Queen Elizabeth, that had been included in a special baton relayed across the Commonwealth over the last nine months in the run-up to the games. Simon Perry,, 2 Aug. 2022 Can an open heart find solutions that a police baton and ballot box cannot? Los Angeles Times, 26 July 2022 The metaphorical baton has been passed, from the great Allyson Felix, who extended her farewell appearance by running a leg in the 4x400 heats, to McLaughlin, the 22-year-old who broke out as a high school teenage phenom back in Rio 2016. Globe Staff,, 25 July 2022 Graphic video of the encounter taken by Calloway's girlfriend shows officers chasing Calloway from room to room, with one appearing to swing a baton at him before a stun gun is deployed. Tori B. Powell, CBS News, 22 July 2022 Heyward’s predecessor at the BSO was Alsop, who stepped down last summer after 14 years as top baton. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 22 July 2022 One officer is swinging a baton, while another has a gun drawn, the video shows. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, 22 July 2022 His time was equaled in the third leg by Elijah Hall, who handed the baton to Marvin Bracy for the final stretch. oregonlive, 22 July 2022 Netflix, on the other hand, took the movie streaming baton and ran with it. Kate Vitasek, Forbes, 19 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'baton.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of baton

1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for baton

French bâton, from Old French baston, ultimately from Late Latin bastum stick

Learn More About baton

Dictionary Entries Near baton




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for baton

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Baton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for baton


ba·​ton | \ bə-ˈtän How to pronounce baton (audio) , ba- \

Kids Definition of baton

1 : a thin stick with which a leader directs an orchestra or band
2 : a rod with a ball at one or both ends that is carried by a person leading a marching band
3 : a stick that is passed from one runner to the next in a relay race

More from Merriam-Webster on baton

Nglish: Translation of baton for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of baton for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!