Pity the poor Zanesvillians who had to batten down the hatches to avoid being eaten by the 18 free-roaming Bengal tigers.
He should make one stop in Michigan to batten it down (Wisconsin looks safe, as does Pennsylvania), and maybe New Hampshire.
"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.
"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.