[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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