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

Russia's second-largest city arguably saw the most robust response with riot police charging at protesters with batons. Fox News, "Russian rights group says over 1,000 detained at protests," 10 Sep. 2018 On Friday, Zimbabwean riot police armed with batons and shields chased away a crowd of journalists waiting for a press conference held by Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. Madeleine Ngo, Vox, "Opponents say Zimbabwe’s election was a sham. The ruling party is trying to silence them.," 3 Aug. 2018 Apple’s Services division is expected to pick up the growth baton from iPhones. Mark Gurman, The Seattle Times, "Apple investors seek clues on next iPhones with results," 30 July 2018 Other police, including mounted Philadelphia Officer Paul Tinneny, allegedly hit Tornetta’s head and face with batons. Joseph A. Gambardello,, "Eagles fan who allegedly punched police horse sues team, cops," 31 May 2018 In this case, Bliss essentially passed the baton (or embryo) to Ashleigh so that both of them could play a pivotal role in the pregnancy. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "These Two Women Both ‘Carried’ Their Baby Using Reciprocal Effortless IVF," 16 Nov. 2018 And these officers violently attacked demonstrators with their batons and tear gas, intending to intimidate the people from moving forward in their protests. Danielle Corcione, Teen Vogue, "How the Democratic National Convention Has Been Protested Against in the Last 50 Years," 28 Aug. 2018 Residents angry about the shooting clashed with police, and some in the crowd threw rocks and bottles at officers, who struck protesters with their batons. Fox News, "The Latest: Autopsy: Chicago man dies of multiple gunshots," 15 July 2018 All six Mary Pages are excellent, handing off, as if in a relay race, the baton of the character’s discontinuous personality. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘Mary Page Marlowe’ Lives an Ordinary, Extraordinary Life," 12 July 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

14 Jan 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, 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).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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