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

Sunday’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians chronicled the family’s Christmas Eve bash, which Kim and her husband Kanye West hosted for the first time last year after Kris Jenner passed the baton. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Kim Kardashian Threatened to Cancel Kanye West's 'Over the Top' Party: 'So Inappropriate'," 9 June 2019 Some days, police use batons to clear the vendors from Barcelona’s streets. Jeannette Neumann, WSJ, "As Migrants Turn to Spain, a Welcome Mat Shows Signs of Wear," 23 Sep. 2018 Six people allege in lawsuits filed Thursday that Portland police assaulted them, sometimes using batons and pepper spray, during a series of turbulent protests that gripped the city over eight months. Maxine Bernstein,, "6 lawsuits allege excessive force by Portland police during protests," 8 Mar. 2018 Blue Apron’s chief executive and a co-founder are leaving the company, passing the baton to a former Etsy Inc. executive, as the meal-kit company works to turn a profit and add customers. Heather Haddon, WSJ, "Blue Apron Replaces CEO," 2 Apr. 2019 One of the most iconic posters on display depicts a member of the French riot police (the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, or C.R.S.) as a baton-wielding member of the SS, the Nazi special police. New York Times, "Printing a Revolution: The Posters of Paris ’68," 4 May 2018 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

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

17 Jun 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

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