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  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈbʌtn̩/, /ˈbʌtən/, [ˈbʌʔn̩]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌtən

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English boton, botoun, from Old French boton (Modern French bouton), from Old French bouter, boter (to push; thrust), ultimately from a Germanic language. More at butt.

Shirt button (sense 1)
Push button (sense 2)
The button of a violin (sense 19).


button (plural buttons)

  1. A knob or disc that is passed through a loop or (buttonhole), serving as a fastener. [from the mid-13th c.]
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me. I look upon notoriety with the same indifference as on the buttons on a man's shirt-front, or the crest on his note-paper.
    April fastened the buttons of her overcoat to keep out the wind.
  2. A mechanical device meant to be pressed with a finger in order to open or close an electric circuit or to activate a mechanism.
    Pat pushed the button marked "shred" on the blender.
  3. (graphical user interface) An on-screen control that can be selected as an activator of an attached function.
    Click the button that looks like a house to return to your browser's home page.
  4. (US) A badge worn on clothes, fixed with a pin through the fabric.
    The politician wore a bright yellow button with the slogan "Vote Smart" emblazoned on it.
  5. (botany) A bud.
  6. (slang) The clitoris.
  7. (curling) The center (bullseye) of the house.
  8. (fencing) The soft circular tip at the end of a foil.
  9. (poker) A plastic disk used to represent the person in last position in a poker game; also dealer's button.
  10. (poker) The player who is last to act after the flop, turn and river, who possesses the button.
  11. A raised pavement marker to further indicate the presence of a pavement marking painted stripe.
  12. (South Africa, slang) A methaqualone tablet (used as a recreational drug).
  13. A piece of wood or metal, usually flat and elongated, turning on a nail or screw, to fasten something, such as a door.
  14. A globule of metal remaining on an assay cupel or in a crucible, after fusion.
  15. A knob; a small ball; a small, roundish mass.
  16. A small white blotch on a cat's coat.
  17. (Britain, archaic) A unit of length equal to 1/12 of an inch.
  18. The means for initiating a nuclear strike or similar cataclysmic occurrence.
  19. (lutherie) In a violin-family instrument, the near semi-circular shape extending from the top of the back plate of the instrument, meeting the heel of the neck.
  20. (lutherie) Synonym of endbutton.
  21. (lutherie, bowmaking) Synonym of adjuster.
  22. The least amount of care or interest; a whit or jot.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard
      'She has heard from us this morning,' said Mr. Gamble, grinning on his watch, 'and she knows all by this time, and 'tisn't a button to her.'
    • 1922, Van Tassel Sutphen, In Jeopardy
      As to that I did not care a button, but I had wanted to hear about Betty, and now her name was barely mentioned.
Usage notes[edit]

For the senses 2 and 3, a button is often marked by a verb rather than a noun, and the button itself is called with the verb and button. For example, a button to start something is generally called start button.

  • (graphical user interface): widget
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English butonen, botonen, from the noun (see above).


button (third-person singular simple present buttons, present participle buttoning, simple past and past participle buttoned)

  1. (transitive) To fasten with a button. [from the late 14th c.]
    • Charles Dickens
      He was a tall, fat, long-bodied man, buttoned up to the throat in a tight green coat.
  2. (intransitive) To be fastened by a button or buttons.
    The coat will not button.
Derived terms[edit]