[bat-n] /ˈbæt n/
verb (used without object)
to thrive by feeding; grow fat.
to feed gluttonously or greedily; glut oneself.
to thrive, prosper, or live in luxury, especially at the expense of others:
"robber barons who battened on the poor."
verb (used with object)
to cause to thrive by or as if by feeding; fatten.
1585–95; apparently < Old Norse batna to improve; cognate with Gothic gabatnan (bati change for the better + -na infinitive suffix). Compare Old English bet, Gothic batis, Old High German baz better


[bat-n] /ˈbæt n/
a small board or strip of wood used for various building purposes, as to cover joints between boards, reinforce certain doors, or supply a foundation for lathing.
a transverse iron or steel strip supporting the flooring strips of a metal fire escape.
  1. a thin strip of wood inserted in a sail to keep it flat.
  2. a thin, flat length of wood or metal used for various purposes, as to hold the tarpaulin covering a hatch in place.
Shipbuilding. a flexible strip of wood used for fairing the lines of a hull on the floor of a mold loft.
  1. Also called pipe batten. a length of metal pipe hung from the gridiron, for suspending scenery or equipment, as drops, flats, or lighting units.
  2. a narrow strip of lumber for constructing, reinforcing, or joining flats.
  3. a similar strip attached to a drop to keep it flat or taut.
verb (used with object)
to furnish or bolster with battens.
Nautical. to cover (a hatch) so as to make watertight (usually followed by down).
Machinery. to secure (work) to a table or bed for a machining operation.
Building Trades. to join or assemble (a steel column or the like) with batten plates.
  1. to suspend (scenery, stage lights, etc.) from a batten.
  2. to fasten a batten to (a flat or drop).
1400–50; late Middle English bataunt, batent finished board < Old French batant, noun use of past participle of batre to beat; see bate2, -ant
Related forms
battener, noun


[bat-n] /ˈbæt n/
(in a loom) the swinging frame for holding and positioning the reed.
a part of the lay of a loom.
verb (used with object)
to beat (filling yarn) into place with the batten.
1825–35; alteration of French battant; see batten1


[bat-n] /ˈbæt n/
Jean ("The Garbo of the Skies") 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: first woman to make solo round-trip flight between England and Australia, 1934–35.
Example Sentences for batten
On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the crisis forced the industry as a whole to batten down the hatches.
batten down the hatches, and get through a work-related storm.
batten down the backhoes and the copper wire and plywood while you're at it.
British Dictionary definitions for batten
batten1 (ˈbætən)
1.  a sawn strip of wood used in building to cover joints, provide a fixing for tiles or slates, support lathing, etc
2.  a long narrow board used for flooring
3.  a narrow flat length of wood or plastic inserted in pockets of a sail to give it proper shape
4.  a lath used for holding a tarpaulin along the side of a raised hatch on a ship
5.  theatre
 a.  a row of lights
 b.  the strip or bar supporting them
6.  (NZ) Also called: dropper an upright part of a fence made of wood or other material, designed to keep wires at equal distances apart
7.  (tr) to furnish or strengthen with battens
8.  batten down the hatches
 a.  to use battens in nailing a tarpaulin over a hatch on a ship to make it secure
 b.  to prepare for action, a crisis, etc
[C15: from French bâton stick; see baton]

batten2 (ˈbætən)
vb (usually foll by on)
to thrive, esp at the expense of someone else: to batten on the needy
[C16: probably from Old Norse batna to improve; related to Old Norse betrbetter1, Old High German bazzen to get better]

Batten (ˈbætən)
Jean. 1909--82, New Zealand aviator: the first woman to fly single-handed from Australia to Britain (1935)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for batten
"strip of wood (especially used to fasten canvas over ships' hatches)," 1650s, Anglicized variant of baton "a stick, a staff" (see baton). Nautical use attested from 1769. As a verb, "to furnish with battens," attested from 1775; phrase batten down recorded from 1823.
"to improve, to fatten," 1590s, probably representing a dialectal survival of O.N. batna "improve" (cf. O.E. batian, O.Fris. batia, O.H.G. bazen, Goth. gabatnan "to become better, avail, benefit," O.E. bet "better;" cf. also boot (v.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Rhymes with batten

Difficulty index for batten

Many English speakers likely know this word

Tile value for batten

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with batten