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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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 few vendors who attempt to set up are chased off by baton-wielding soldiers. The Economist, "Banyan Many of Asia’s Muslims are celebrating Ramadan in the normal way," 30 Apr. 2020 The third man, 20 -- another son of the oldest man -- also was in possession of a collapsible baton in a scabbard. cleveland, "Officer stops three weapon-toting men walking to a store: Cleveland Heights Police Blotter," 10 Apr. 2020 Error 0: For Harrell, the appointment is something of a passing of the baton, with White having served as both colleague and mentor. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Longtime Deer Park ISD administrator to be next superintendent," 18 Feb. 2020 At least one of the baton blows hit the teen in the face, an arrest affidavit said. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Body camera footage shows baton beating that prompted charges against Denver police sergeant," 9 Oct. 2019 For the combination of Muti’s baton, the sonic splendor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and a cast of vocal soloists showed that this ensemble remains a keenly sensitive, inherently virtuosic organization. Howard Reich,, "CSO review: Muti kicks off season’s end with sumptuous ‘Aida’," 22 June 2019 The Philadelphia Orchestra regularly brings its music directors to its summer homes in Vail and Saratoga Springs, but Mann audiences have gotten the short end of the baton for years. Peter Dobrin,, "Classical summer: Bradley Cooper, Harry Potter, piano stars, Yannick debuts at a spiffed-up Mann Center," 5 June 2019 Definitive proof, not that it was really needed, of a passing of the baton in American — and world — ski racing. Steve Douglas, The Seattle Times, "Shiffrin wins super-G, Vonn crashes at worlds," 5 Feb. 2019 Videos from India have shown police officers in masks using batons to beat and disperse large groups of people. New York Times, "How Far Should Police Go in Enforcing Coronavirus Lockdowns?," 2 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for baton

Time Traveler

The first known use of baton was in 1520

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Statistics for baton

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Baton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for baton


How to pronounce baton (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for baton

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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