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.

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

buckleless, adjective
rebuckle, verb, rebuckled, rebuckling.

8. sag, bulge, twist; crumple, collapse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
buckle (ˈbʌkəl)
1.  a clasp for fastening together two loose ends, esp of a belt or strap, usually consisting of a frame with an attached movable prong
2.  an ornamental representation of a buckle, as on a shoe
3.  a kink, bulge, or other distortion: a buckle in a railway track
4.  to fasten or be fastened with a buckle
5.  to bend or cause to bend out of shape, esp as a result of pressure or heat
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"spiked metal ring for holding a belt, etc., c.1300, bukel, from O.Fr. bocle "boss (of a shield), buckle, metal ring," 12c., from L. buccula "cheek strap of a helmet," dim. of bucca "cheek." The verb in this sense is late 14c., bokelen.

"distort, warp," 1520s, bokelen "to arch the body," from M.Fr. boucler "to bulge," from O.Fr. bocler "to bulge, curl," from bocle "boss of a shield."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


clasp or catch, particularly for fastening the ends of a belt; or a clasplike ornament, especially for shoes. The belt buckle was often used in Greece and Rome and became an indispensable part of the Teutonic warrior's equipment, as well as the object of special care on the part of metalsmiths, who ornamented many buckles with rich and intricate designs

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The pilot tells us to buckle up, folks, we're coming in for a landing.
These were connected with serpentine-shaped wires that buckle and change shape as the balloon inflates, rather than fracturing.
Moreover, serious challenges to national decision-makers doesn't mean that governments are all poised to buckle under pressure.
In a collision a compressor inflates the bag by pushing air through the buckle
  and into the seat belt strap.
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