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 The boys wore their jerseys, each with a red button that had a picture of PJ in his uniform. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 The button was pushed after a power dip lasting several milliseconds at 8:25 p.m. and the subsequent discovery that several pieces of mechanical equipment at the New York City Transit Rail Control Center stopped functioning. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Cruise opted for a more muted navy wool blazer, blue button-down shirt and striped tie — with those classic '80s bangs. Jolie Lash, EW.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Further simplicity is found in the lack of an on/off button. Alistair Charlton, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Gurung showed dressmaker button detailing alongside feathery and slinky looks. Leanne Italie, ajc, 9 Sep. 2021 Slide the button to the right to enable this setting. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2021 Next to each of the 15 track names is the name of a grassroots nonprofit group with a button that allows users to donate directly to the organization. NBC News, 8 Sep. 2021 Pressing the emergency stop button, the men managed to halt the elevator’s plunge at the building’s 50th floor. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dear Heloise: To save time and for convenience, button all the buttons on a blouse except the top two. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 The Commission, in turn, asked Moore to hold off publishing the story about the recording to give them time to button up their investigation. Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2021 To change their configuration, simply unfasten the straps' metal buttons, thread them through the bag's loops as desired, and button them back up. Tess Garcia, Travel + Leisure, 22 July 2021 Now, after years of portraying various Black Union Army soldiers at Civil War reenactments around the country, Osborne plans next month to button up his Civil War uniform and reenact scenes from his great-great-grandfather’s life. Washington Post, 21 July 2021 Designed to assist people who experience a loss of motor function, the robot is strong enough to lift everyday objects and precise enough to button a shirt. Dan Patterson, CBS News, 14 July 2021 Those gaping slots in the hood gulp air in and are a key part of the Elva’s Active Air Management System (AAMS), activated via a discreet—and rather difficult to locate—button beside the steering column. Jeremy Taylor, Robb Report, 29 June 2021 Thousands of shoppers are obsessed with this breezy, button down dress from Amazon's Halife store, and for good reason. Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure, 14 June 2021 Featuring a drawstring closure, mesh lining, 2 deep side pockets and triple-stitching for durability and strength, these eye-catching swim trunks can also be paired with a matching short-sleeve Kenny Flowers button down shirt for a full cabana set. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 8 June 2021

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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Learn More About button

Time Traveler for button

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near button



button aster

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Statistics for button

Last Updated

16 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Button.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/button. Accessed 19 Sep. 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
: 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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