1 of 3

noun (1)

buck·​le ˈbə-kəl How to pronounce buckle (audio)
: a fastening for two loose ends that is attached to one and holds the other by a catch
: an ornamental device that suggests a buckle
archaic : a crisp curl


2 of 3


buckled; buckling ˈbə-k(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce buckle (audio)

transitive verb

: to fasten with a buckle
: to prepare with vigor
: to cause to bend, give way, or crumple

intransitive verb

: to become fastened with a buckle
: to apply oneself with vigor
usually used with down
buckle down to the job
: to bend or move usually under the influence of some external agency
wheat buckling in the wind
: collapse
the props buckled under the strain
: to give way : yield
he buckled under pressure


3 of 3

noun (2)

: a product of buckling : bend, fold
: a coffee cake baked with berries and a crumbly topping
blueberry buckle

Did you know?

Word History of Buckle

The literal meaning of Latin word buccula was “little cheek,” but buccula was also the name for the part of a helmet that protects the cheek. Its medieval French descendant, bouclé, was the word for the boss of a shield, which looks a little like a small cheek on the face of the shield. The use of the word was later extended to belt fasteners. In this sense, the word was borrowed into English.

Examples of buckle in a Sentence

Verb She buckled the horses into their harness. The pavement buckled in the heat.
Recent Examples on the Web
The excavations also revealed a trove of artifacts, including brooches, rings, coins, tableware and a belt buckle decorated with horses. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2024 The gold-tone buckle belt was a killer addition to this outfit. Robyn Mowatt, Essence, 1 Apr. 2024 Rodeo star Kenneth Cooper was captured wearing a belt with his 501 Levis in 1928, and according to the brand, Levi Strauss & Co. began celebrating rodeo champions with championship belt buckles in the decades that followed. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2024 At this year's awards ceremony, HARDY is up for two belt buckles. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2024 Every season has its jewelry trends, and for spring-summer 2024, belt jewelry—basically, pretty jewels with a buckle—seems to be at the top of the list. Jessica Scemama, Glamour, 25 Mar. 2024 Those adjustable buckles combined with the open toe design leads to tons of comfort and flexibility, which is ideal on those long days with lots of walking. Aly Walansky, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway sat courtside sporting a necklace with a buckle, a.k.a. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 26 Mar. 2024 The strap adjusts from 22.5 to 54 inches and comes with a buckle for easy on and off. Chaunie Brusie, Rn, Parents, 21 Mar. 2024
New York City, charities feeling the crunch New York City has spent billions on the asylum seekers while buckling under the pressure of an existing housing and affordability crisis. CBS News, 27 Mar. 2024 Philanthropy steps in New York City has spent billions on the asylum seekers while buckling under the pressure of an existing housing and affordability crisis. Sara Herschander, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Mar. 2024 Uh and his wife and business partner, Mina Park, first opened their experimental strip mall joint in 2018, diners were entranced by the shelves practically buckling under the weight of giant jars of ferments. Krista Simmons, Sunset Magazine, 25 Mar. 2024 The office was racked by personnel issues and buckling under the weight of identifying and prosecuting Jan. 6 rioters — an investigation that became the largest ever undertaken by the department. Adam Goldman, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Even if Washington hadn’t buckled to outside pressure, the U.S. ambitions for 2030 would not have been exceptional. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Mar. 2024 Almost at once, the pier buckled and collapsed, twisting over the ship, with its cargo containers stacked high on the deck. Mike Baker, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 The ship crashed into one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to snap and buckle at several points and tumble into the water in a matter of seconds – a shocking spectacle that was captured on video and posted on social media. Lea Skene, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Mar. 2024 The impact quickly caused much of the bridge to buckle, dropping major portions into the Patapsco River. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'buckle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English bocle, from Anglo-French, boss of a shield, buckle, from Latin buccula, diminutive of bucca cheek

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of buckle was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near buckle

Cite this Entry

“Buckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buckle. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
buck·​le ˈbək-əl How to pronounce buckle (audio)
: a fastening device which is attached to one end of a belt or strap and through which the other end is passed and held


2 of 3 verb
buckled; buckling -(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce buckle (audio)
: to fasten with a buckle
buckle your seat belt
: to fasten a buckle
buckle up for safety
: to apply oneself
buckle down to the job
: to give way : bend, crumple
the pavement buckled in the heat
knees buckled


3 of 3 noun
: a product of buckling

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