Definition of button in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbətn/


1A small disk or knob sewn onto a garment, either to fasten it by being pushed through a slit made for the purpose, or for decoration: a blouse with five buttons in front [as modifier]: button thread
More example sentences
  • At this stage, they'll also check your garments for slits, broken buttons or zippers, and any other irregularities.
  • It also features a two-button cuff with a button sleeve placket and wood grain Eagle logo buttons.
  • He was pushing buttons on purpose, to figure out what would make him tick and what he would let roll off his back.
fastener, stud, toggle;
hook, catch, clasp, snap fastener, pin
1.1A small, round object resembling a button: chocolate buttons
More example sentences
  • Danz has opened a tube of chocolate buttons from Danika.
  • Well, anyone who has had chocolate buttons will disagree.
  • No one can get close to our award winning house recipes in these organic chocolate buttons.
1.2 Fencing A knob fitted to the point of a foil to make it harmless.
Example sentences
  • A second button costs $10 and lets the chime go of to a different sound than the other button - perfect to differentiate your own touch from your opponent's.
  • These days, the adherents of the point d'arrêt are few and far between, and non-electric weapons are generally fitted with foil-style buttons.
  • Notice the tip is rounded with a button mechanism and wires running down the grooves on the side of the blade.
2A knob on a piece of electrical or electronic equipment that is pressed to operate it.
Example sentences
  • She pushed the button and waited in front of one of the shiny gold colored doors.
  • He pushed the green button in front of him and the mannequin started to move about the field.
  • Push the button on the front edge and lift, the lid flips back and supports slide out, providing a stand for the phone.
switch, knob, control;
lever, handle;
icon, box
2.1An element of a graphical user interface which a user can select to perform a particular action: just search for the app you want and click the ‘buy’ or ‘install’ button
More example sentences
  • The menu options are well designed, and the simple left/right and select buttons work effectively.
  • You advance forward and backward by clicking buttons.
  • We're not opposed to touch, but sometimes it would be nice to have forward, back and a home screen button to press.
3chiefly North American A badge bearing a design or slogan and pinned to the clothing.
Example sentences
  • You can't see from here, but those badges and buttons sport a plethora of pro-life phrases.
  • Most are adorned with slogan buttons, some of which are very old and rare.
  • The slogans on our buttons are actually funny, and many of them are about cats.


[with object]
1Fasten (clothing) with buttons: he buttoned up his jacket
More example sentences
  • I am buttoning my skirt with fingers that are trembling, and my voice seems to be coming from a great distance.
  • It was a cold November night in Hawolgok-dong and I buttoned my coat against a bitter wind announcing the onset of winter.
  • I think glancing along rows of neatly zipped trousers and tightly buttoned shirts in the tube carriage.
1.1 (button someone into) Fasten the buttons of a garment being worn by (someone): he buttoned himself into the raincoat
More example sentences
  • She lay one across the back of the chair and began buttoning Wilhelm into the other as though he were a doll.
  • ‘I can't wait,’ I sighed dramatically, letting Susie button me into my coat as Meredith clocked out.
  • He sits on a desk in the corner of my lounge, waiting for me to push button him into life.
1.2 [no object] (Of a garment) be fastened with buttons: a dress that buttons down the front
More example sentences
  • The dark navy plaid skirt came down a little below mid-thigh and the short sleeve shirt buttoned down the front.
  • The plaid skirt seem to come up to her breasts and her shirt buttoned down and was supposed to be tucked into her skirt but she left it out.
  • She was wearing a long floral print dress that buttoned all down the front of her.
1.3 (button it) [often in imperative] informal Stop talking.
Example sentences
  • Colin Todd has warned his City players to button it.
  • Put them in blazers, then tell them to button it.
  • If they manage to persuade the likes of White and Laporte to keep it buttoned, it will be one of the miracles of the age.



button one's lip

informal Stop or refrain from talking.
Example sentences
  • But they do like and respect him, and I can't imagine them agreeing that as a former Governor General he should button his lip.
  • The nation's professional churl had finally been forced to button his lip.
  • I'd told her this was payback for keeping me in the dark about the visit of Lorne, Bryan, and Co. on my birthday, and buttoned my lip.

on the button

informal Punctually: it was nearly visiting hours and she would arrive on the button
More example sentences
  • On another day trip, we heeded the lure of Cordoba, spirited there by a train that left on the button and arrived on the nail.
  • I was pleased when I was there to see everyone get in on time and lessons started right on the button.
  • From All Cannings Bridge, I was picked up on the button by a Wigglybus, a pleasing local speciality: it wiggles away from its scheduled route by appointment made on the phone.
2.1Exactly right: his prediction was right on the button in terms of actual rainfall
More example sentences
  • The Lingard and Neil Law three-quarter partnership is not yet on the button but it was spot-on when the latter put the former in for his second.
  • Diva may be an overused word, but it's bang on the button here.
  • He would advise property developers on how to get funding and seemed to be quite on the button, quite switched on.

press the button

informal Initiate an action or train of events, especially nuclear war.
Example sentences
  • For these two reasons, mobilization was almost equivalent to pressing the button in the age of the nuclear deterrent, or to reaching for the personal deterrent in the age of the cowboy.
  • I have the latest volume on my wish list but I rather suspect I'll be pressing the button and buying it myself next pay-day.
  • It's that old familiar ‘life on hold’ stage of the game, when there are no projects under way, everything is waiting to be packed when the solicitor presses the button and in the meantime all we can do is sit quietly, not make a mess, and wait.

push (or press) someone's buttons

informal Arouse or provoke a reaction in someone: stay cool and don’t allow them to push your buttons
More example sentences
  • So he was pushing your buttons, but you were also pushing his buttons.
  • Let him tap into your brain, and he will feed off it, and keep right on pushing your buttons.
  • Is this woman serious, or just pushing our buttons?

Phrasal verbs

button something up

1 informal Complete or conclude something satisfactorily: trying to button up a deal
More example sentences
  • Once they do move that rotating structure away, it basically means the shuttle is buttoned up and ready to go, but as Kyra mentioned, NASA certainly keeping an eye on that faulty fuel sensor.
  • And just to button this final thought up, what evidence do we have that this is moving voters one way or another?
  • That sounds like there's some logic, you can button it up, if it comes down to simply extortion for money.
2Repress or contain something: it was repressive enough to keep public opinion buttoned up
More example sentences
  • Perhaps it is because they are all buttoned up, just quite content to take a six figure salary without making any meaningful contribution, is that what we want?
  • Any white person expressing such ideas is obviously a buttoned up racist, ill at ease with the realities of multicultural Britain and its vibrant black youth culture.
  • Rivers, for his part, is every bit as self-conscious as Prior, but his sensuality remains buttoned up.



Pronunciation: /ˈbətnləs/
Example sentences
  • No starched apron-bib is sullied, no long straight gilet is crumpled, no cuff or kirtle torn or buttonless, no bold tricorne hat askew.
  • Baggy white pants with patches and a shrunken, buttonless vest was not his idea of a good costume.
  • From a design standpoint, these new buttonless elevators in populated metro areas are great.


Middle English: from Old French bouton, of Germanic origin and related to butt1.

Words that rhyme with button

glutton, Hutton, mutton

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: but·ton

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