Definition of baton in English:

baton

Syllabification: ba·ton
Pronunciation: /bəˈtän
 
/

noun

  • 1A short stick or staff or something resembling one, in particular.
  • 1.1A thin stick used by a conductor to direct an orchestra or choir.
    More example sentences
    • He waved a hand in the air like he was holding a baton and conducting an orchestra.
    • He leads with an incisive baton and the orchestra and chorus respond with spirit.
    • From the day he raised a baton as principal conductor in Birmingham in 1980, Rattle has been the golden boy of classical music.
    Synonyms
    stick, rod, staff, wand
  • 1.2 Track & Field A short stick or tube passed from runner to runner in a relay race.
    More example sentences
    • Continuing the theme of movement, the third revealed a split screen showing identical images of relay racers passing a baton.
    • They were leading when their third runner dropped the baton before passing it to the anchor.
    • I've heard her talk about this;the third runner knocked the baton out of her hand, her knee came up.
  • 1.3A long stick carried and twirled by a drum major.
    More example sentences
    • There might be a Rose Parade all the way to the Hall of Fame with Pete out front twirling the baton if, and when, he becomes eligible.
    • He set scoring records at Niagara and twirled the baton at Buffalo Bills games.
    • On a sunny July 4 morning in Ripley, West Virginia - a town of 3400 souls - he revelled in the festivities as batons twirled and bands marched.
  • 1.4A police officer’s club.
    More example sentences
    • They were stopped by scores of riot policemen armed with automatic weapons, batons and water cannons.
    • Around 250 police armed with tear gas, water cannons, batons, shields and automatic weapons attacked the workers when they refused to disperse.
    • Heavily armed riot police used tear gas, water cannon and batons to break up groups of demonstrators and then chased them down side streets.
    Synonyms
  • 1.5A staff symbolizing office or authority, especially one carried by a field marshal.
    More example sentences
    • Victory brought Wellington a field marshal's baton, sensitively designed by the Prince Regent himself.
    • Brauchitsch, having been promoted to general in February 1938, was given his field marshal's baton in July 1940.
    • It is said every soldier carries a field marshal's baton in his knapsack.
  • 1.6 Heraldry A narrow bend truncated at each end.
    More example sentences
    • By the 17th century a baton sinister was also used to indicate illegitimacy.
    • With the house of Bourbon the baton distinguished the cadets, while the baton sinister marked the illegitimates.
  • 1.7A short bar replacing some figures on the dial of a clock or watch.
    More example sentences
    • Petite baton hands and four baton indicators adorn the dial, which is set in a square goldtone steel case with gentle contours and a beautiful polished shine.
    • It's accented by large luminous white hands, thin white baton markers, and Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o'clock.
    • It features a black face, Arabic figures and baton hour markers, small seconds dial at 9 o’clock, ‘Black Seal’ inscription at 6 o’clock.
  • 1.8 (batons) One of the suits in some tarot packs, corresponding to wands in others.
    More example sentences
    • The suits are cups, coins, swords and batons, and each suit contains seven different cards: ace, 3, 4, 5, jack, horse, king.
    • The four latin suits are swords, batons, cups and coins.
    • A 40 card pack is used, usually with the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins.

Phrases

pass (on) the baton

Hand over a particular duty or responsibility.
More example sentences
  • The world's greatest rower for a decade, he needs one last, great race before passing the baton on permanently to his long-term teammate.
  • The day Smith recorded her last album, Billie Holiday walked into the same studio to record her first - like passing on the baton.
  • My life is now busy teaching, studying and preparing for the arrival (in mid-October) of our new baby, so I'm pleased to have passed the baton to Mark.

take up (or pick up) the baton

Accept a duty or responsibility.
More example sentences
  • This time last year, another past student, Ruth Maloney, took up the baton as musical director for such school productions and has done a wonderful job.
  • This year, people in 23 other locations around the country took up the baton and organised Goal Miles in their own locality.
  • Their father was a great loss but we were all delighted when Elaine and John decided to take up the baton.

under the baton of

(Of an orchestra or choir) conducted by: under the baton of Sir Edward Downes
More example sentences
  • The orchestra will be under the baton of esteemed conductors Philip Edmondson and Richard Nicholls.
  • Director Robert Readman has a strong, capable cast among the Rowntree Players, supported by a fine orchestra under the baton of musical director Mike Thompson.
  • The music lost none of its power as the Queensland Orchestra, under the baton of Tom Woods, brought Francois Klaus's choreography to life.

Origin

early 16th century (denoting a staff or cudgel): from French bâton, earlier baston, from late Latin bastum 'stick'.

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