Definition of buckle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbʌk(ə)l/


1A flat, typically rectangular frame with a hinged pin, used for joining the ends of a belt or strap: most rucksacks have quick release buckles a belt buckle
More example sentences
  • Dating from the late ninth century AD, the hoard includes silver coins, fragments of two swords, weights, a belt buckle, strap ends as well as the boat nails.
  • The Flex-Strap closure is on all new 2004 styles that have a plastic buckle.
  • The back of the cap has a quick release buckle and a strap to adjust sizing.
clasp, clip, catch, fastener, fastening, hasp
1.1A similarly shaped ornament on a shoe: black shoes with ornate buckles
More example sentences
  • To complete the outfit, I wore a pair of slip on shoes with a huge buckle, which I'd also found in the Cancer Care shop.
  • And, in fact, the buckles on his wedding shoes for the day of his marriage were worth two million pounds or so, $3 million by today's standards.
  • Long silken stockings ran from his knees into his tiny little shoes with silver buckles.


1 [with object] Fasten or decorate with a buckle: he buckled his belt
More example sentences
  • I buckled on the belt and clipped the knife to it, then hefted the sword gingerly.
  • Adam looked at the Marshall through narrowed eyes as he buckled on his gun belt.
  • She buckled her seat belt and opened the window to look out on Newark at night.
fasten, do up, hook, strap, tie, secure, clasp, catch, clip
1.1 [no object] (buckle up) Fasten one’s seat belt in a car or aircraft: it is advisable to buckle up as some of the mountain roads require skilful manoeuvring
More example sentences
  • You know, this is a tough decision, because everyone in the aviation industry does agree that buckling up into your own seat is the safest way for everyone to go: adults, babies, toddlers, everyone.
  • But only a Jaguar can afford to sport a system this advanced - for the rest of us - buckle up.
  • So, buckle up, happy flying and I think you'll find a little education goes a very long way toward reducing your fears.
2 [no object] Bend and give way under pressure or strain: the earth buckled under the titanic stress
More example sentences
  • The pain was almost unbearable as they continued to apply pressure and his knees buckled under the strain.
  • As the protein binds to DNA, the molecule buckles to form a loop which is sufficiently long-lived to be observed as a decrease in its extension.
  • For a second day speed restrictions were placed on tracks across the country amid fears they might buckle on what proved to be the hottest day of the year so far.
warp, become/make warped, bend, bend out of shape, become/make bent, twist, become/make twisted, curve, become/make curved, distort, become/make distorted, contort, become/make contorted, become/make crooked, deform, become/make deformed, malform, become/make malformed, misshape, become/make misshapen, mangle, become/make mangled, develop a kink/wrinkle/fold, bulge, arc, arch, wrinkle;
crumple, collapse, cave in, give way
2.1 [with object] Bend (something) out of shape: a lorry backed into the wall and buckled the gate
More example sentences
  • The problem is, the car door is often buckled and wedged shut by the crash.
  • An armored vehicle climbed the home's marble stairs and buckled the walls.
  • The front wheel is buckled and the back wheel is bent.
2.2(Of a person) suffer a psychological collapse as a result of stress: a weaker person might have buckled under the strain
More example sentences
  • Back then he had buckled, begged for his life, done whatever he was ordered to do just to survive.
  • His feet touched the ground and he knees buckled under the sudden weight gain.
  • After two days of damaging headlines he finally buckled and declared he would not challenge.

Phrasal verbs


buckle down

Tackle a task with determination: they will buckle down to negotiations over the next few months
More example sentences
  • But then Saval, with Donal Murphy playing great stuff, buckled down to the task with Fergal McConville and Paul Greenan replying, to leave eight points between the teams.
  • We've got to keep buckling down and going for it.
  • ‘I was so determined, I just buckled down to it,’ he said.
get (down) to work, set to work, get down to business, roll up one's sleeves, put one's hand to the plough;
work hard, apply oneself, make an effort, strive, be industrious, be diligent, be assiduous, exert oneself, focus
informal get cracking, pull/get one's finger out, get weaving, get off one's backside
British informal get stuck in

buckle to

dated Make a determined effort.
Example sentences
  • Conditions for seam and swing could not have been more favourable when Kent resumed on two without loss on the final morning in their quest to reach a 230 target, but after early resistance they soon buckled to 33 for six.
  • But since the coach demanded muscularity in the maul, the Scottish back row buckled to the job and one, two or all three of them was involved in almost every maul.
  • You could write horror stories about such a childhood; instead she writes about survivors, women who buckle to and take charge.


Middle English: from Old French bocle, from Latin buccula 'cheek strap of a helmet', from bucca 'cheek'. sense 2 of the verb is from French boucler 'to bulge'.

  • This word for a fastener is from Old French bocle ‘buckle, boss’, from Latin buccula ‘cheek strap of a helmet’; the base is Latin bucca ‘cheek’. The verb ‘to buckle’ as in buckle under a weight or strain is from French boucler ‘to bulge’.

Words that rhyme with buckle

chuckle, knuckle, muckle, ruckle, suckle, truckle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: buckle

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