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

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Synonyms for baton


bastinado (or bastinade), bat, billy, billy club, bludgeon, cane, club, cudgel, nightstick, rod, rung [Scottish], sap, shillelagh (also shillalah), staff, truncheon, waddy [Australian]

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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

But Claire Foy did masterful work on Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown and deserved top prize before handing the baton to Olivia Colman and co. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "10 Important Moments You May Have Missed from the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 Police have detained at least 450 people using tear gas and batons as protesters set fire to buses, block roads and railways, and use violent means to make their point. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: #SayHerName: Nia Wilson," 27 July 2018 With the finish line not far ahead, Durant grabbed the Warriors’ baton and led the way. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors’ title run features a parade of leading men," 9 June 2018 That put the baton — and team outcome — in the hands of Neuqua runners Kel Foley, Kai Larson, Patrick Hoffman and Turner, who each ran a 400-meter leg of the race needing a sixth-place finish or better to pull out the win. Rick Armstrong, Naperville Sun, "Second to none: Neuqua Valley rides four runner-up finishes to program's first Class 3A boys track state title," 29 May 2018 Publicis was the worst-performer from 2013 until WPP took the baton last year. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Madison Avenue Needs to Watch Its Back," 13 Nov. 2018 The actor is nearing a deal to take the baton on the role, which belonged to Matt Smith during the show's first two seasons. Ray Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter, "What Matters in Hollywood Today," 22 Jan. 2018 After spending two seasons watching Lauren Dickerson (Miami (Ohio)) and Destiny Perkins (Akron) run the offense, she’s taken the baton. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Trinity Brady leads Lawrence North to 'stepping-stone' win over Hamilton Southeastern," 16 Jan. 2018 Instead of a conductor's baton, there is an iPhone in my right hand. Devin Tomb, Good Housekeeping, "I Took My Mom on a Cruise and Tried to Make Her an Instagram Star," 11 Oct. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for baton

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for baton

The first known use of baton was in 1520

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More Definitions for baton



English Language Learners Definition of baton

: a thin stick that is used by a music conductor to lead a band or orchestra
: a long thin stick with a ball at one end or both ends that is carried by someone who performs with or leads a marching band
: a stick that is passed from one runner to the next runner in a relay race


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on baton

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with baton

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for baton

Spanish Central: Translation of baton

Nglish: Translation of baton for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of baton for Arabic Speakers

Comments on baton

What made you want to look up baton? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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