a small disk, knob, or the like for sewing or otherwise attaching to an article, as of clothing, serving as a fastening when passed through a buttonhole or loop.
anything resembling a button, especially in being small and round, as any of various candies, ornaments, tags, identification badges, reflectors, markers, etc.
a badge or emblem bearing a name, slogan, identifying figure, etc., for wear on the lapel, dress, etc.: campaign buttons.
any small knob or disk pressed to activate an electric circuit, release a spring, or otherwise operate or open a machine, small door, toy, etc.
Botany. a bud or other protuberant part of a plant.
a young or undeveloped mushroom.
any protuberant part of a fungus.
Zoology. any of various small parts or structures resembling a button, as the rattle at the tip of the tail in a very young rattlesnake.
Boxing Informal. the point of the chin.
Also called turn button. a fastener for a door, window, etc., having two arms and rotating on a pivot that is attached to the frame.
Metallurgy. (in assaying) a small globule or lump of metal at the bottom of a crucible after fusion.
Fencing. the protective, blunting knob fixed to the point of a foil.
Horology, crown ( def 19 ).
Computers. (in a graphical user interface) any of the small, labeled areas upon which the user can click with a mouse to choose an option.
verb (used with object)
to fasten with a button or buttons: She quickly buttoned her coat.
to insert (a button) in a buttonhole or loop: He buttoned the top button of his shirt.
to provide (something) with a button or buttons.
verb (used without object)
to be capable of being buttoned: This coat buttons, but that one zips.
button up, Informal.
Also, button one's lip. to become or keep silent.
to fasten securely; close up: Within a short time, everything on the submarine was buttoned up.
to fasten fully or put on, especially an outer garment: Button up before going out.
to complete successfully; finish: The report is all buttoned up.
have all one's buttons, Informal. to be mentally competent, alert, and sane; have all one's wits: At 106 she still has all her buttons.
on the button, Informal. exactly as desired, expected, specified, etc.: The prediction for snow was right on the button.

1275–1325; Middle English boto(u)n < Anglo-French: rosehip, button, stud; Middle French boton, equivalent to boter to butt3 + -on noun suffix

buttoner, noun
buttonlike, adjective
misbutton, verb (used with object)
misbuttoned, adjective
rebutton, verb (used with object)
well-buttoned, adjective
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Richard Totten [tot-n] , ("Dick") born 1929, U.S. figure skater.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
button (ˈbʌtən)
1.  a disc or knob of plastic, wood, etc, attached to a garment, etc, usually for fastening two surfaces together by passing it through a buttonhole or loop
2.  a small round object, such as any of various sweets, decorations, or badges
3.  a small disc that completes an electric circuit when pushed, as one that operates a doorbell or machine
4.  a symbolic representation of a button on the screen of a computer that is notionally depressed by manipulating the mouse to initiate an action
5.  biology any rounded knoblike part or organ, such as an unripe mushroom
6.  fencing the protective knob fixed to the point of a foil
7.  a small amount of metal, usually lead, with which gold or silver is fused, thus concentrating it during assaying
8.  the piece of a weld that pulls out during the destructive testing of spot welds
9.  rowing a projection around the loom of an oar that prevents it slipping through the rowlock
10.  (Brit) an object of no value (esp in the phrase not worth a button)
11.  slang intellect; mental capacity (in such phrases as a button short, to have all one's buttons, etc)
12.  informal on the button exactly; precisely
13.  to fasten with a button or buttons
14.  (tr) to provide with buttons
15.  (tr) fencing to hit (an opponent) with the button of one's foil
16.  button one's lip, button up one's lip, button one's mouth, button up one's mouth to stop talking: often imperative
[C14: from Old French boton, from boter to thrust, butt, of Germanic origin; see butt³]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c. (implied in botouner "button-maker"), from O.Fr. boton (Fr. bouton) "a button, bud" (12c.), from bouter, boter "to thrust" (see butt (v.)). Thus a button is, etymologically, something that pushes up, or thrusts out. The verb is late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

button but·ton (bŭt'n)
A knob-like structure, device, or lesion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

button definition

1. push-button.
2. A graphical representation of an electrical push-button appearing as part of a graphical user interface. Moving the mouse pointer over the graphical button and pressing one of the physical mouse buttons starts some software action such as closing a window or deleting a file.
See also radio button.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with button, also see cute as a button; have all one's buttons; on the button; push (press) someone's buttons; push the panic button.

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