batten

verb (1)
bat·​ten | \ ˈba-tᵊn How to pronounce batten (audio) \
battened; battening\ ˈbat-​niŋ How to pronounce batten (audio) , ˈba-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of batten

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to grow fat
b : to feed gluttonously
2 : to grow prosperous especially at the expense of another usually used with on

batten

noun

Definition of batten (Entry 2 of 3)

1a British : a piece of lumber used especially for flooring
b : a thin narrow strip of lumber used especially to seal or reinforce a joint
2 : a strip, bar, or support resembling or used similarly to a batten (as in a sail)

batten

verb (2)
battened; battening\ ˈbat-​niŋ How to pronounce batten (audio) , ˈba-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of batten (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with battens
2 : to fasten with or as if with battens often used with down

intransitive verb

: to make one secure by or as if by battens battening down for the hurricane
batten down the hatches
: to prepare for a difficult or dangerous situation

What Is the Origin of Batten

Batten comes from the name for an iron bar used to secure the covering of a hatchway on a ship, which was especially useful in preparation of stormy weather. The verb batten is used in variations of the phrase "batten down the hatches," which means "to prepare for a difficult or dangerous situation." It winds back to Latin battuere, meaning "to beat."

First Known Use of batten

Verb (1)

circa 1540, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1663, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for batten

Verb (1)

probably from Old Norse batna to improve; akin to Old English betera better

Noun

alteration of Middle English batent, bataunt finished board, from Anglo-French *bataunt, from present participle of batre to beat, from Latin battuere

Learn More About batten

Time Traveler for batten

Time Traveler

The first known use of batten was circa 1540

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About batten

Dictionary Entries Near batten

battement

batten

Battenberg cake

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for batten

Cite this Entry

“Batten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/batten. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for batten

batten

verb
bat·​ten | \ ˈba-tᵊn How to pronounce batten (audio) \
battened; battening

Kids Definition of batten

1 : to secure by or as if by fastening often used with down Everything on the ship's deck was battened down.
2 : to prepare for possible trouble or difficulty often used with down People battened down in preparation for winter.

More from Merriam-Webster on batten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for batten

Nglish: Translation of batten for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!