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batten2

[bat-n] /ˈbæt n/
noun
1.
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.
2.
a transverse iron or steel strip supporting the flooring strips of a metal fire escape.
3.
Nautical.
  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.
4.
Shipbuilding. a flexible strip of wood used for fairing the lines of a hull on the floor of a mold loft.
5.
Theater.
  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)
6.
to furnish or bolster with battens.
7.
Nautical. to cover (a hatch) so as to make watertight (usually followed by down).
8.
Machinery. to secure (work) to a table or bed for a machining operation.
9.
Building Trades. to join or assemble (a steel column or the like) with batten plates.
10.
Theater.
  1. to suspend (scenery, stage lights, etc.) from a batten.
  2. to fasten a batten to (a flat or drop).
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for batten down

batten1

/ˈbætən/
noun
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)
  1. a row of lights
  2. 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
verb
7.
(transitive) to furnish or strengthen with battens
8.
batten down the hatches
  1. to use battens in nailing a tarpaulin over a hatch on a ship to make it secure
  2. to prepare for action, a crisis, etc
Derived Forms
battening, noun
Word Origin
C15: from French bâton stick; see baton

batten2

/ˈbætən/
verb
1.
(intransitive) usually foll by on. to thrive, esp at the expense of someone else: to batten on the needy
Word Origin
C16: probably from Old Norse batna to improve; related to Old Norse betrbetter1, Old High German bazzen to get better

Batten

/ˈbætən/
noun
1.
Jean. 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: the first woman to fly single-handed from Australia to Britain (1935)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for batten down

batten

n.

"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.

v.

"to improve; to fatten," 1590s, probably representing an English dialectal survival of Old Norse batna "improve" (cf. Old English batian, Old Frisian batia, Old High German bazen, Gothic gabatnan "to become better, avail, benefit," Old English bet "better;" cf. also boot (v.)). Related: Battened; battening.

"to furnish with battens," 1775, from batten (n.); phrase batten down recorded from 1823. Related: Battened; battening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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