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 More recent reports have pointed to a less significant overhaul, with Macotakara saying in January that the new iPad mini will have an 8.4-inch display with slightly smaller bezels and will retain the Home button. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "One of Apple’s next big releases is delayed, top leaker says," 3 May 2021 Under Armour:Military personnel, retirees, veterans and their spouses and family members can currently save 20% online by clicking the button to verify their status as military and first responders (find this under the promotion code area). Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "National Military Appreciation Month: Get the best military discounts of 2021," 2 May 2021 Just click the profile button again (top right) and choose Turn on sync. David Nield, Wired, "How to Use Browser Profiles to Separate Work and Play," 2 May 2021 Don't expect Phoenix to keep its finger on that celebratory pause button long, though. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Suns: Look back at clinching playoff berth, ahead to showdown vs. NBA-leading Utah Jazz," 30 Apr. 2021 Still, with workers headed back to the office as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and more firms relocate from out of state to North Texas, KBS wanted to hit the refresh button on its Plano buildings. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Plano office towers get a reboot to be ready for tenants," 30 Apr. 2021 And pressing it twice as hard only breaks the button. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Is Tough Enough for Most of Us," 29 Apr. 2021 Other testers described how the Play Something button led them to watch shows like Who Killed Sara? Nick Romano, EW.com, "Netflix officially rolls out new shuffle function called Play Something: Here's what you need to know," 28 Apr. 2021 Be careful not to take too long to hit that buy button, however, since the sale is only a two-day-long event. Ariel Scotti, Forbes, "Wayfair’s Biggest Sale Of The Year Is Officially Here," 28 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The collection includes a unisex robe, as well was a women's tanks, shorts, pants, button down top, and sleep shirt in three colors: Bone (cream), Clay (blush), and Coal (muted grey/black). Travel + Leisure, "You’ll Want to Live in This Linen Loungewear All Summer Long," 25 Apr. 2021 The Jaguars grabbed a quarterback with the first pick and now need to button down the edge protection. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Sam Farmer’s NFL mock draft 2.0: Predicting QB picks as easy as one, two, three," 19 Apr. 2021 His is the face of a man who keeps his secrets close to the vest, and would button yours in even closer. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Benedict Cumberbatch Is a Spy With Soul in The Courier—But He's Not the Only Reason to Watch," 16 Apr. 2021 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

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Button.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/button. Accessed 11 May. 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

Comments on button

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