button up

Idioms & Phrases

button up

  1. Close securely, fasten, as in The house was all buttoned up, or Button up your coatit's very cold. [Late 1500s]

  2. Also, button one's lip. Hold one's tongue, keep quiet. For example, Please button your lip about the surprise. A variant of this usage, button one's mouth, dates from the 17th century. [Mid-1800s]

  3. Finish successfully, as in I've got this report all buttoned up. [c. 1940]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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