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[uhn-buht-n] /ʌnˈbʌt n/
verb (used with object)
to free (buttons) from buttonholes; unfasten or undo.
to unfasten by or as if by unbuttoning:
to unbutton a jacket.
to disclose (one's feelings, thoughts, etc.) after deliberate or prolonged silence.
verb (used without object)
to unfasten a button or one's buttons.
Origin of unbutton
1275-1325; Middle English unbotenen. See un-2, button Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unbutton
Historical Examples
  • If you'll kindly let me unbutton my coat, I'll show you my star; I'm the city marshal.

    The Eagle's Heart Hamlin Garland
  • Her mother had to unbutton the hard top button but she did all the rest.

    Here and Now Story Book Lucy Sprague Mitchell
  • He nodded his head and began to unbutton his coat, so as to take it off before the duel.

    Hania Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • They did so, and the chambermaids went to the room and began to unbutton the dress.

    Italian Popular Tales Thomas Frederick Crane
  • "I will wait till to-morrow," said Northwick, and he began to unswathe and unbutton, but so feebly that Bird noticed.

    The Quality of Mercy W. D. Howells
  • Why so anxious about the sit of cloaks; and gloves—whether to button or unbutton?

    Monday or Tuesday Virginia Woolf
  • Slowly and sadly Polly laid aside her hat, and began to unbutton her dainty frock.

  • She saw Richard Crawford unbutton his vest, a little assisted by the Colonel.

    Shoulder-Straps Henry Morford
  • She obeyed him, contemplating her surroundings with interest as she began to unbutton her gloves.

    A Woman's Will Anne Warner
  • Nigel sprang from his horse with a cry of joy, and began to unbutton his doublet.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for unbutton


to undo by unfastening (the buttons) of (a garment)
(informal) to release or relax (oneself, tension, etc)
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 unbutton

early 14c., from un- (2) "opposite of" + button (v.). Related: Unbuttoned; unbuttoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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