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 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 buttonless (audio) \ adjective


buttoner \ ˈbət-​nər How to pronounce buttoner (audio) , 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

The interesting all-Italian wine list is a combination of hip and button-down. BostonGlobe.com, "Where to eat in Greater Boston," 20 June 2019 Briscoe said that is not the case for the defendant, who sat at the defense table Tuesday in black dress pants and a button-down white shirt, which appeared to have been pressed. Michael Todd, The Mercury News, "Santa Cruz District Attorney asks court to keep child predator in state hospital," 19 June 2019 Henry Anguyo, in a neat plaid button-down, presides from a plastic chair next to a shack on the side of a long dirt road. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "In Uganda, a unique urban experiment is under way," 17 June 2019 For the event, the royal wore a light blue striped button-down, khakis, and a navy blazer that adorably matched his twins. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Albert Takes His Twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques to Meet SpongeBob," 17 June 2019 With the touch of a button, the RV’s side walls move outward creating a living area with a 4-foot 4-inch wide floor space between the dinette and the galley. Julianne G. Crane, Houston Chronicle, "Truck campers: Versatile camping almost anywhere," 15 June 2019 Keeping her hair and accessories in a similar style, the former Wizards of Waverly Place star swapped out her gown for a black button-down and matching shorts. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Wore a Black Celine Gown to the Premiere of “The Dead Don’t Die”," 11 June 2019 Dressed in Calvin Klein jeans, a button-down shirt, and polished black shoes, instead of being kicked to the curb, I was escorted up a flight of stairs to a private area filled with pretty women and cool white guys smoking cigarettes. Michael Gonzales, Longreads, "It’s Like That: The Makings of a Hip-Hop Writer," 10 June 2019 Style points also go out to Mozzi, who looked effortlessly dapper in a button-down shirt, navy blazer, black jeans, and taupe sneakers. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice Go on a Romantic Double Date in London," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The company reorganized its head office, brought in leadership familiar with meeting regulatory requirements and buttoned up standard operating procedures, Berman said. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Harborside heads north, gets listed on Canadian exchange," 11 June 2019 Nina Khrushcheva was clad in the simplest dress, which buttoned at the front. Djurdja Bartlett, Smithsonian, "When the United States and Soviet Union Fought It Out Over Fashion," 4 June 2019 The food may be some of the most ambitious in Denver, but the experience is far from buttoned up. Sunset Staff, Sunset, "Eat This Burger, Ogle These Dogs, and 8 Other Things You Should See & Do This Week," 22 Jan. 2018 Blake, who voiced the character Ox in the cartoon film, opted for his go-to button down and jeans look. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani Hit the Red Carpet With Her Sons for the First Time Ever," 29 Apr. 2019 For her top, Kate opted for a cardigan by Brora, but cleverly buttoned it up and wore it like a blouse. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Attends a Christmas Party in the Perfect Plaid Skirt by Emilia Wickstead," 4 Dec. 2018 But before the camera, buttoned and zipped into those clothes, all was very well, indeed. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Romy Schneider! Revisiting the Star’s Enduring Style," 23 Sep. 2018 And so the Apple Card charges into the financial world in which cheery, millennial-baiting websites and apps try to displace the gloomy, buttoned-up mortgage lenders and bankers of old with smile and that Silicon Valley sheen. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Apple Is a Credit Card Company Now," 25 Mar. 2019 In 1967, the Big Five was buttoned-down basketball. Frank Fitzpatrick, Philly.com, "Temple's Drew Nolan, the Owl without an off-switch | Frank's Place," 8 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

24 Jun 2019

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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on button

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with button

Spanish Central: Translation of button

Nglish: Translation of button for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of button for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about button

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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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