noun, often attributive
but·ton | \ˈbə-tᵊn \

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

3a : push button

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, 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 \-ləs \ adjective


buttoner \ˈbət-nər, ˈbə-tᵊn-ər \ noun

Examples of button in a Sentence


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.


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

Log-in below or select the 'Create an Account' button to become an Insider. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Win Tickets to Festa Italiana," 10 July 2018 Dolce & Gabbana shorts covered in orange blossoms proved the right choice for a trip to the beach with the kids, while a black mini-dress with gold button detailing proved ideal for her pitstop at the brand’s Lake Como Alta Moda show. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Is Kourtney Kardashian Having the Best Summer Ever?," 9 July 2018 As for her older brother, George wore blue shorts and a white button down shirt with blue trimming by Amaia Kids. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "You Have to See Princess Charlotte and Prince George's Outfits From the Royal Christening," 9 July 2018 Brands like Sephora, L'Oreal, and Target have all utilized similar technology on their own sites, and mobile apps like ModiFace and YouCam Makeup allow users to sample full makeup looks at the tap of a button. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Facebook to Launch New Makeup Augmented Reality Feature," 11 July 2018 With just a push of a button, your weekday dinner is taken care of as the chili cooks away in the slow-cooker. Heloise, Houston Chronicle, "A yearning for Bootlegger Beans," 10 July 2018 The company built a reputation for its mass-notification systems, capable of pinging out weather warnings and missing-persons alerts to entire cities at the touch of a button. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "At Everbridge, tracking bad news is good business," 8 July 2018 Waiting in horror to see what happens when an impotent man-baby gets his finger on the nuclear button. Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "10 Scathing Political Satires to Stream This Independence Day," 3 July 2018 The lack of a home button suggests that there could be an in-display fingerprint sensor. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "This is what Samsung’s next tablet might look like," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Thunder are a way of life: hard-working and buttoned up. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Grades: Thunder Retain Paul George Through Team and Culture," 1 July 2018 Expanding on his quilted patterns and overly buttoned-up and structured silhouettes from seasons past, creative director Raf Simons mixed in hints of metallics, easy silks, and sheer ruffles. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Millie Bobby Brown Stuns in Cheerleader-Inspired Look While Sitting Front Row at Calvin Klein’s Fall 2018 Show," 14 Feb. 2018 One man wore a white T-shirt with black pants and a black hat, while the other wore a blue and yellow plaid, short sleeve, buttoned shirt and light-colored pants with a white baseball cap, the video showed. Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Thieves steal diamond rings worth $45,000, police say," 11 July 2018 When three or more salmon are buttoned at once, the scene can turn into absolute bedlam. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Salmon opener brings mysteries, chance of mayhem," 10 June 2018 Through TigerOT, Hunter has learned to put on his socks and to button his pants. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "The story of a boy with cerebral palsy who threw out the first pitch at a Mizzou game | The Kansas City Star," 4 May 2018 Many advocacy groups are clamoring for tighter gun laws with hopes that such approaches would keep guns out of schools and lessen the need for buttoning up schools. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "We don’t know how safe Indiana schools are. Here’s why.," 10 June 2018 The drama is basically a Tswift version of Mad Men, with a buttoned-up '50s husband cheating on his blonde housewife. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Taylor Swift Cheats With a Married Man in the New Music Video for Sugarland's "Babe"," 7 June 2018 In the ensuing months, the selfie-happy actor was photographed wearing scarves and shirts buttoned up tightly around his neck. Mike Miller, PEOPLE.com, "Inside Val Kilmer's 2-Year Battle with Throat Cancer and Comeback in Top Gun Sequel," 7 June 2018

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

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Statistics for button

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for button

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

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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

: 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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of button 

: something that resembles a small knob or disk: as

a : the terminal segment of a rattlesnake's rattle

b : cotyledon sense 1

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Comments on button

What made you want to look up button? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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