ba·​ton | \bə-ˈtän, 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

The trailer quickly moves on, showing a cop beating down on a redheaded boy (Archie?) with a baton in what looks like a prison riot. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Hidden Clues from the New "Riverdale" Season 3 Trailer That You Probably Missed," 29 Aug. 2018 The officer who pulled the gun approaches the group again with a baton drawn while another officer continues to arrest Jacob. NBC News, "El Paso, Texas officer under review after pulling gun on group of children," 9 July 2018 Curses were flying on the video, which shows the officers beating the man with a baton and tasering him Wednesday afternoon, reports CBS Miami. CBS News, "Video of violent arrest of alleged cell phone thief sparks debate," 1 June 2018 In response, the officer appears to replace his gun with a baton, visibly de-escalating the threat to Mr. Minassian. Catherine Porter And Megan Specia, New York Times, "When Toronto Suspect Said ‘Kill Me,’ an Officer Put Away His Gun," 24 Apr. 2018 Cambridge police are equipped with a baton, pepper spray, and a gun, officials said. Meghan E. Irons,, "Cambridge police commissioner backs officers in Harvard student’s arrest," 17 Apr. 2018 When the officer unsuccessfully tried to break Vaden's car window with a baton, Vaden allegedly drove head-on into a Glendale squad, shifted the car into reverse and sped out of the Speedway lot backward, according to a criminal complaint. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man allegedly steals 113 lighters, flees Glendale police driving backward," 3 Apr. 2018 From startling misunderstandings to hitting up against major deadlines, the album changed hands again, and at the end, Roy Bittan took the baton for some final touches. Jason Scott, Billboard, "'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road' Turns 20: Lucinda Williams & Producer Steve Earle Reflect on Her Masterpiece," 30 June 2018 The teams and players that took up the baton similarly were not advocating for individuals. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Trump says NFL players protesting racial injustice don't have 'a real issue'," 15 June 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

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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, 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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Comments on baton

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a private place of worship

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