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 buttoning (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 upbutton up your overcoat
3a : to close (the lips) to prevent speech button your lip
b : to close or seal tightly usually used with upbutton 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 buttonless (audio) \ adjective


buttoner \ ˈbət-​nər How to pronounce buttoner (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 When you’re all set, press the button that looks like a C with an antenna (the Cricut logo) to start the cutting. Allen Foster, chicagotribune.com, "Cricut Maker review: Can this popular machine take your crafting to the next level?," 11 Nov. 2020 Help the junior officers learn how to press the go button? Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "'Star Wars': Get under Boba Fett's helmet in exclusive 'From a Certain Point of View' excerpt," 30 Oct. 2020 Twist the hose into the coupling near the feet of your second-row passengers, press a button by the two USB ports, and brrrrooooom! Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "2021 Toyota Sienna's 8 Family-Friendliest Features," 28 Oct. 2020 Simply rotate the meter’s dial to the temperature mode, then press the select button to toggle between Fahrenheit and Celsius. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Digital Multimeter," 21 Oct. 2020 The whole time these entities knew that by pressing the 'go' button, kids would get very sick and their lives would be forever changed. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for October 9: Kidnapping plot, Covid-19, Trump, stimulus, Hong Kong," 9 Oct. 2020 The fix appears simple for most: Press the locator activation button on your Tile Pro for 10 seconds. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Why Tile Pro isn't working with your iPhone, and what to do," 17 Sep. 2020 Officials now reach down to a device attached to their belt and press a button. al, "Sisler: What it was like covering pandemic college football game from the sidelines," 30 Aug. 2020 In 2016, Newhouse said that Trump tended to score 2 or 3 points higher in phone surveys when respondents were asked to press a button to record their preferences rather than talk to a live person. Jeremy W. Peters, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Hidden’ Trump voters exist. But how much impact will they have?," 16 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Tenney’s suit could have forced streamer and esports management companies to button up, but now the threat is less looming. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "Shady Contracts, Raw Deals: Inside the Industry of Managing Video Game Stars," 14 Sep. 2020 That’s our mentality, and just button everything up. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs remain firm they won’t be slowed by COVID-19 — even after a Reds player tests positive," 16 Aug. 2020 To change your name in a Zoom meeting, click the Participants button at the bottom of your screen. Juliana Labianca, Good Housekeeping, "8 Useful Zoom Features That Will Upgrade Your Next Video Chat Experience," 27 May 2020 To create your own room and generate a link, open Facebook Messenger and tap the People button at the bottom. David Nield, Popular Science, "Eighteen ways to improve your video calls," 1 June 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

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Button.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/button. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for button


How to pronounce button (audio)

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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