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 Inside, every room had air-conditioning and what were then considered space-age features, including beds that slid out of the wall at the push of a button. Randy Tucker, The Enquirer, "Old Terrace Plaza Hotel named one of the 11 most endangered historical buildings in the country," 24 Sep. 2020 The Duchess is famous for always looking polished and put-together, with a timelessly chic wardrobe made up of crisp button-downs, chic tea dresses, and preppy blazers. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "Kate Middleton wore a monogram necklace with her kids’ initials—here’s where you can buy it," 22 Sep. 2020 This self-cleaning grooming brush is gentle on your pet’s coat and can be cleaned with the click of a button. Kami Phillips, CNN Underscored, "28 top-rated Amazon products your pets will love," 17 Sep. 2020 With two full seasons available at the click of a button and a third on the way, there's plenty of content to savor. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How to Watch Succession, HBO's Acclaimed Drama Starring Brian Cox and Kieran Culkin," 17 Sep. 2020 Turn the Icon to maximum power with a simple press of a button on the side of the housing. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The 11 Headlamps Worth Your Hard-Earned Buck," 15 Sep. 2020 But it was easily circumvented by poll workers with the press of a single button. Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg.com, "Flaws in Georgia’s Election System Let 1,000 People Vote Twice," 14 Sep. 2020 These handy gadgets are specially designed to do all the sweeping for you with just the push of a button. Rebecca Carhart, PEOPLE.com, "Amazon’s Best-Selling Robot Vacuum Is Majorly Marked Down Right Now," 27 Aug. 2020 The button, which appears below a user's profile and on the home screen, will choose a selection based on viewing history, preferences, and playlists. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "Can't figure out what to watch? Netflix is trying out a shuffle button," 19 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The jacket of his navy suit was buttoned; a tiny American flag was pinned to his lapel. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "At second state dinner, Melania Trump’s dress is as quiet and dutiful as her," 21 Sep. 2019 Ravens: The Ravens have their corners buttoned down with Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey but could use help at safety, and there are a couple of really good ones who figure to go in the first round. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "What NFC, AFC North teams seek in NFL draft," 18 Apr. 2020 Oxford shirts, which never close over my chest, could be worn over a cami or dress instead of buttoned up. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "I Did a Virtual Consultation With Katie Holmes' Stylist, and It Revolutionized My Wardrobe," 3 Apr. 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

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Button.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/button. Accessed 1 Oct. 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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