[buh-ton, ba-, bat-n]
Music. a wand used by a conductor.
a rod of lightweight metal fitted with a weighted bulb at each end and carried and twirled by a drum major or majorette.
Track. a hollow rod of wood, paper, or plastic that is passed during a race from one member of a relay team to the next in a prescribed area.
a staff, club, or truncheon, especially one serving as a mark of office or authority.
a diminutive of the bend sinister, couped at the extremities: used in England as a mark of bastardy.
a similar diminutive of the ordinary bend.

1540–50; < Middle French bâton, Old French baston < Vulgar Latin *bastōn- (stem of *bastō) stick, club; compare Late Latin bastum staff

4. mace, scepter, crosier, rod, wand; fasces; caduceus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
baton (ˈbætən, -tɒn)
1.  a thin stick used by the conductor of an orchestra, choir, etc, to indicate rhythm or expression
2.  a.  a short stick carried for use as a weapon, as by a policeman; truncheon
 b.  (as modifier): a baton charge
3.  athletics a short bar carried by a competitor in a relay race and transferred to the next runner at the end of each stage
4.  a long stick with a knob on one end, carried, twirled, and thrown up and down by a drum major or drum majorette, esp at the head of a parade
5.  a staff or club carried by an official as a symbol of authority
6.  heraldry a single narrow diagonal line superimposed on all other charges, esp one curtailed at each end, signifying a bastard line
[C16: from French bâton, from Late Latin bastum rod, probably ultimately from Greek bastazein to lift up, carry]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1540s, "a staff used as a weapon," from Fr. batôn "stick, walking stick, staff, club, wand," from O.Fr. baston (12c.) "stick, staff, rod," from L.L. bastum "stout staff," probably of Gaulish origin or else from Gk. *baston "support," from bastazein "to lift up, raise, carry." Meaning "staff carried
as a symbol of office" is from 1580s; musical sense of "conductor's wand" is from 1867.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

baton definition

A stick used by some conductors of choruses or orchestras. The baton is traditionally used to indicate the tempo of the music.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In fact, a baton seems to be dancing and twinkling up along her forearm and
  back down again to her hand even as she speaks.
Elsewhere, it will happen only if vigorous private domestic demand picks up the
  baton from government stimulus.
He grabs a baton that he ignites at both ends, then twirls.
It has a smooth and polished surface, and resembles the baton generally borne
  by police and other officers.
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