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

By night, a small crowd had occupied streets in the area in defiance of riot police, prompting officers to tackle and beat some with batons. Shibani Mahtani,, "Hong Kong protesters seek to tell mainland Chinese visitors about their struggle," 7 July 2019 Riot police pushed them back, spraying pepper spray and hitting protesters on the head with batons. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "Hong Kong police clash with protesters on anniversary of return to China," 30 June 2019 Last week, police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, and even beat protesters with batons in efforts to forcefully clear the streets. Bethany Allen-ebrahimian, The New Republic, "The Depressing Reality Behind Hong Kong’s Protests," 20 June 2019 Taking the baton from Daly, authors like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler became titans of the genre. Susanna Lee, Quartz, "How the ‘good guy with a gun’ became a deadly American fantasy," 7 June 2019 A year later, Spanish police attempted to tackle travelling supporters with batons on the streets of Bilbao and Madrid., "FanView: Why England Fan Trouble Is Not on the Rise Again Despite Latest Incidents," 27 Mar. 2018 There are also coffee drinks, vegan and gluten-free baked desserts from Island Girl and sourdough baton loaves from Bread and Cie. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New Leucadia cafe specializes in live culture food, drinks," 27 June 2019 One train of thought is that Bakich will try to get Paige one time through the Vanderbilt order — perhaps three innings — and then pass the baton to the bullpen, in a committee day of sorts. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan baseball's Erik Bakich calls on Isaiah Paige to start Game 2," 25 June 2019 Videos from Wednesday's protest showed police spraying tear gas directly into protester's faces and beating them with batons. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters push ahead with mass rally despite suspension of controversial bill," 16 June 2019

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

15 Jul 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

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food or victuals

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