noun (1)
buck·​le | \ ˈbə-kəl How to pronounce buckle (audio) \

Definition of buckle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a fastening for two loose ends that is attached to one and holds the other by a catch
2 : an ornamental device that suggests a buckle
3 archaic : a crisp curl


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

Definition of buckle (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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


noun (2)

Definition of buckle (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Word History of Buckle

Noun (1)

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.

First Known Use of buckle

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

History and Etymology for buckle

Noun (1)

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

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Time Traveler for buckle

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near buckle

buck law


buckle chain

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Statistics for buckle

Cite this Entry

“Buckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buckle. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for buckle



English Language Learners Definition of buckle

: to fasten (something, such as a belt) with a buckle
: to attach (something) with a buckle
: to bend or collapse from pressure, heat, etc.


buck·​le | \ ˈbə-kəl How to pronounce buckle (audio) \

Kids Definition of buckle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a fastening device which is attached to one end of a belt or strap and through which the other end is passed and held


buckled; buckling

Kids Definition of buckle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fasten with a buckle
2 : to bend, crumple, or give way The pavement buckled in the heat.
buckle down
: to start to work hard
buckle up
: to fasten your seat belt

More from Merriam-Webster on buckle

Nglish: Translation of buckle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of buckle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about buckle


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