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[buhk-uh l] /ˈbʌk əl/
a clasp consisting of a rectangular or curved rim with one or more movable tongues, fixed to one end of a belt or strap, used for fastening to the other end of the same strap or to another strap.
any similar contrivance used for such purposes.
an ornament of metal, beads, etc., of similar appearance.
a bend, bulge, or kink, as in a board or saw blade.
verb (used with object), buckled, buckling.
to fasten with a buckle or buckles:
Buckle your seat belt.
to shrivel, by applying heat or pressure; bend; curl.
to prepare (oneself) for action; apply (oneself) vigorously to something.
to bend, warp, or cause to give way suddenly, as with heat or pressure.
verb (used without object), buckled, buckling.
to close or fasten with a buckle:
Grandmother always wore shoes that buckled.
to prepare oneself or apply oneself:
The student buckled to the lesson.
to bend, warp, bulge, or collapse:
The bridge buckled in the storm.
to yield, surrender, or give way to another (often followed by under):
She refused to take the medicine, but buckled under when the doctor told her to.
Verb phrases
buckle down, to set to work with vigor; concentrate on one's work:
He was by nature a daydreamer and found it hard to buckle down.
buckle up, to fasten one's belt, seat belt, or buckles:
She won't start the car until we've all buckled up.
Origin of buckle
1300-50; Middle English bocle < Anglo-French bo(u)cle, bucle < Latin buc(c)ula cheekpiece (of a helmet), strip of wood, etc., resembling a cheekpiece, equivalent to bucc(a) cheek + -ula -ule
Related forms
buckleless, adjective
rebuckle, verb, rebuckled, rebuckling.
8. sag, bulge, twist; crumple, collapse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for buckle down
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, there was nothing to do, of course, but to go back and buckle down to work—and to life in the Dale Street flat.

    The Road to Understanding Eleanor H. Porter
  • That much accomplished, now he could buckle down for the big fight.

  • John had now had enough of running away, and was content to stay at home and buckle down to his books.

    The Fort Dearborn Massacre Linai Taliaferro Helm
  • All the same, when I buckle down to my job, I'm not such a bad hand at it.

    The Unwilling Vestal Edward Lucas White
  • Sara is flippant when things are going along all right, but she knows when to buckle down and do what she's asked.

    Sense from Thought Divide Mark Irvin Clifton
  • You are not afraid to buckle down to the necessity and keep on trying.

    Stranded in Arcady Francis Lynde
  • He says I must not be disappointed if I have to come away at any time, and buckle down to hard work.

    For the Honor of Randall Lester Chadwick
British Dictionary definitions for buckle down

buckle down

(intransitive, adverb) (informal) to apply oneself with determination: to buckle down to a job


a clasp for fastening together two loose ends, esp of a belt or strap, usually consisting of a frame with an attached movable prong
an ornamental representation of a buckle, as on a shoe
a kink, bulge, or other distortion: a buckle in a railway track
to fasten or be fastened with a buckle
to bend or cause to bend out of shape, esp as a result of pressure or heat
Word Origin
C14: from Old French bocle, from Latin buccula a little cheek, hence, cheek strap of a helmet, from bucca cheek
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for buckle down



"spiked metal ring for holding a belt, etc., c.1300, bukel, from Old French bocle "boss (of a shield)," then "shield," then by further extension "buckle, metal ring," (12c., Modern French boucle), from Latin buccula "cheek strap of a helmet," in Late Latin "boss of a shield," diminutive of bucca "cheek" (see bouche).

Boucle in the middle ages had the double sense of a "shield's boss" and "a ring"; the last sense has alone survived, and it metaph. developed in the boucle de cheveux, ringlets. [Kitchin]


late 14c., bokelen, "to fasten with a buckle," from buckle (n.). Related: Buckled; buckling. To buckle down "apply effort, settle down," (1874) is said to be a variant of knuckle down (see knuckle).

"distort, warp, bend out of shape" 1520s, bokelen "to arch the body," from Middle French boucler "to bulge," from Old French bocler "to bulge," from bocle "boss of a shield" (see buckle (n.)). Meaning "bend under strong pressure" is from 1590s (figurative from 1640s) . Related: Buckled; buckling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for buckle down

buckle down

verb phrase

To set seriously to work; put slothful ease behind one (1860s+)



To hit; clobber (1990s+ Teenagers)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with buckle down

buckle down

Set to work, apply oneself with determination, as in All right, we'll buckle down now and study for exams. Originating about 1700 as buckle to, the expression gained currency with the football song “Buckle-Down, Winsocki” (from the Broadway musical comedy Best Foot Forward, 1941). [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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