noun, often attributive
but·​ton | \ ˈbə-tᵊn How to pronounce button (audio) \

Definition of button

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small knob or disk secured to an article (as of clothing) and used as a fastener by passing it through a buttonhole or loop
b : a usually circular metal or plastic badge bearing a stamped design or printed slogan campaign button
2 : something that resembles a button: such as
a : any of various parts or growths of a plant or of an animal: such as
(1) : bud
(2) : an immature whole mushroom especially : button mushroom
(3) : the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle
b : a small globule of metal remaining after fusion (as in assaying)
c : a guard on the tip of a fencing foil
b : something (such as a push button) that has the real or symbolic capability of initiating a catastrophe (such as a nuclear attack) has his finger on the button
c : a hidden sensitivity that can be manipulated to produce a desired response knows how to push my buttons
d : a usually box-shaped computer icon that initiates a specific software function
4 : the point of the chin especially as a target for a knockout blow
on the button
: exactly arrived at noon on the button also : exactly on target : on the nose the estimate was right on the button


buttoned; buttoning\ ˈbət-​niŋ How to pronounce button (audio) , ˈbə-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of button (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to furnish or decorate with buttons
2a : to pass (a button) through a buttonhole or loop
b : to close or fasten with buttons often used with up button up your overcoat
3a : to close (the lips) to prevent speech button your lip
b : to close or seal tightly usually used with up button up the house for winter

intransitive verb

: to have buttons for fastening this dress buttons at the back

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Other Words from button


buttonless \ ˈbə-​tᵊn-​ləs How to pronounce button (audio) \ adjective


buttoner \ ˈbət-​nər How to pronounce button (audio) , ˈbə-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Examples of button in a Sentence

Noun a dress with buttons down the back I lost a button on my jacket. He took off his tie and undid the top button of his shirt. Will you please push the ‘play’ button on the CD player? With a fax machine, you can send a document across the country with the touch of a button. If the information on the registration form is correct, click the ‘OK’ button. Verb He rarely buttons the top button on his shirt. Will you button the baby's jacket for her? The skirt buttons on the side.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Didi has taken numerous measures to improve customer safety since then—such as upgrading a distress button that enables customers to call the police through the app. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "New players are piling into the world’s largest electric vehicle market—no auto experience required," 10 Apr. 2021 The online store features a big button at checkout encouraging shoppers to check out with Cash App. Bill Hardekopf, Forbes, "This Week In Credit Card News: Huge Facebook Data Leak; Do You Have Free Cell Phone Insurance?," 9 Apr. 2021 Like a monarch pressing a button, the queen emits pheromones to summon worker bees to fulfill her needs. Nikk Ogasa, Science | AAAS, "Honey bees rally to their queen via ‘game of telephone’," 9 Apr. 2021 One of the pieces—the Husband shirt, an oversize button-down—became a hit when Meghan Markle wore a white version during her first public outing alongside Prince Harry that same year. Jenny Hartman, WSJ, "The Secrets of a Perfect Capsule Wardrobe," 8 Apr. 2021 Calling that button a silver lining of the pandemic is perhaps too shiny a term to use when discussing the worst global health crisis since 1918. USA Today, "After COVID-19, post-traumatic growth could bring creativity, joy back into your life, but perhaps not until 2024," 8 Apr. 2021 The interior features a thin-rimmed steering wheel with a chrome horn button. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Forget SUVs. These auto makers think tiny electric cars are the next big thing," 8 Apr. 2021 In addition to connecting to the Travel Neck Pillow, multiple Travel Blankets can be attached together with their button clasps. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "Away travel accessories collection: Everything you need to know," 8 Apr. 2021 Included in every Expedition are 18-inch wheels, fog lights, push-button start and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Ryan Zummallen, Star Tribune, "Edmunds: The most affordable new SUVs for 2021," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tie the ties together, snap on the snaps, button up the buttons. Ambar Pardilla, NBC News, "The 6 best duvets and duvet inserts of 2021," 15 Mar. 2021 Take a billowing, longer button up, like Avenue’s version, to the beach and wear it open with a bikini for a crisp cover-up. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Get Back to Basics With a White Button Up Shirt," 4 Mar. 2021 When his dining room became his office, Graham Pickering, 31, an engineer for an energy company outside New Orleans, continued to button up his dress shirts and blazers each day. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Why Some Men Are Still Wearing Suits to Work From Home," 21 Jan. 2021 Salvatore Ferragamo layers a long leather skirt over a casual outfit of leggings and a poplin button up. Jenny Hartman And Alexander Fisher, WSJ, "From Chanel to Dolce & Gabbana, the 18 Best Fashion Looks of December," 30 Dec. 2020 Because this year, 2020, was meant to be the year when he was supposed to button up all these issues. CBS News, ""Blood and Oil" coauthors on Mohammed bin Salman and the future of Saudi Arabia," 14 Oct. 2020 Oregon State must button up its non-conference schedule soon, as the season opens in less than six weeks. oregonlive, "Pandemic has Oregon State scrambling to find men’s basketball non-conference games," 18 Oct. 2020 But just to button this up, so three of the men that were arrested as co-conspirators in part of this plot were also involved back in the Spring in April with storming the Michigan Capitol with guns at the time. CBS News, "Transcript: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on "Face the Nation," October 11, 2020," 11 Oct. 2020 State officials said Tuesday that new construction on the light-rail line had stopped and workers had begun to button up the 16 miles of construction sites, but did not say exactly when the contractor planned to leave. Washington Post, "Purple Line construction workers will be packed up and ready to leave by mid-October, contractor says," 24 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'button.' 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 button


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


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

History and Etymology for button


Middle English boton, from Anglo-French butun rose hip, stud, from buter to thrust — more at butt entry 3

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Time Traveler for button

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for button

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Button.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/button. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for button



English Language Learners Definition of button

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small, usually round piece of plastic, glass, metal, etc., that is sewn to a piece of clothing and is pushed through a loop or hole to fasten one part of the clothing to another part
US : a small, usually round sign that has a picture or words on the front and a pin on the back
: a small part of a machine that you push to make the machine work



English Language Learners Definition of button (Entry 2 of 2)

: to attach (a button) by passing it through a hole
: to close or fasten (something) with buttons
: to have buttons for fastening


but·​ton | \ ˈbə-tᵊn How to pronounce button (audio) \

Kids Definition of button

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small ball or disk used for holding parts of a garment together or as an ornament
2 : a small often round part of a machine that makes the machine do something when pushed


buttoned; buttoning

Kids Definition of button (Entry 2 of 2)

: to close or fasten with buttons


but·​ton | \ ˈbət-ᵊn How to pronounce button (audio) \

Medical Definition of button

: something that resembles a small knob or disk: as
a : the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle

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