AskDefine | Define button

Dictionary Definition



1 a round fastener sewn to shirts and coats etc to fit through buttonholes
2 an electrical switch operated by pressing a button; "the elevator was operated by push buttons"; "the push beside the bed operated a buzzer at the desk" [syn: push button, push]
3 any of various plant parts that resemble buttons
4 a female sexual organ homologous to the penis [syn: clitoris, clit]


1 provide with buttons; "button a shirt"
2 fasten with buttons; "button the dress" [ant: unbutton]

User Contributed Dictionary



From boton (French bouton), from *|bottōnem, probably ultimately from Germanic.


  • /'bʌtən/, /"bVt.@n/
  • Rhymes: -ʌtən


  1. A knob or disc that is passed through a slit (buttonhole) in the adjacent material, serving as a fastener.
    April fastened the buttons of her overcoat to keep out the wind.
  2. A mechanical device meant to be pressed with a finger in order to open or close an electric circuit or to activate a mechanism.
    Pat pushed the button marked "shred" on the blender.
  3. An on-screen control that can be selected as an activator of an attached function.
    Click the button that looks like a house to return to your browser's home page.
  4. A badge worn on clothes, fixed with a pin through the fabric.
    The politician wore a bright yellow button with the slogan "Vote Smart" emblazoned on it.
  5. A bud.
  6. The clitoris.
  7. The center (bullseye) of the house.
  8. The soft circular tip at the end of a foil.
  9. A plastic disk used to represent the person in last position in a poker game; also dealer's button.
  10. The player who is last to act, who possesses the button.


knob or small disc serving as a fastener
  • Chinese : 釦子, 扣子 (kòu zi)
  • Croatian: gumb, dugme
  • Czech: knoflík
  • Finnish: nappi
  • German: Knopf
  • Greek: κουμπί
  • Hungarian: gomb
  • Icelandic: tala, hnappur
  • Japanese: ボタン
  • Kurdish: ,
  • Polish: guzik
  • Russian: пуговица
  • Slovene: gumb
a mechanical device meant to be pressed with a finger
  • Chinese: 按鈕, 按钮 (àn niǔ)
  • Croatian: gumb, dugme
  • Czech: tlačítko
  • Finnish: painike, painonappi
  • German: Taste
  • Greek: κουμπί
  • Icelandic: takki, hnappur
  • Japanese: ボタン
  • Kurdish:
  • Polish: guzik, przycisk
  • Russian: кнопка
  • Slovene: gumb
in computer software, an on-screen control that can be selected
  • Chinese: 按鈕, 按钮 (àn niǔ)
  • Croatian: gumb, dugme
  • Czech: tlačítko
  • Finnish: painike
  • Icelandic: valhnappur, hnappur, takki
  • Japanese: ボタン
  • Polish: przycisk
  • Russian: кнопка
a badge worn on clothes
  • Chinese: 小徽章, 小徽章 (xiǎo huī zhāng)
  • Finnish: rintanappi
  • Greek: σήμα
  • Icelandic: barmmerki
  • Japanese: ボタン
  • Slovene: značka
botany: a bud
  • Chinese: , (yá)
  • Croatian: pupoljak
  • German: Knospe
  • Finnish: nuppu
slang: clitoris
curling: bullseye
  • Finnish: nänni
fencing: a soft tip of the foil
  • Finnish: kärkihylsy
poker: dealer's button
  • Finnish: nappi


  1. To fasten with a button.


to fasten with a button

Extensive Definition

In clothing and fashion design, a button is a small plastic or metal disc- or knob-shaped, typically round, object usually attached to an article of clothing in order to secure an opening, or for ornamentation. Functional buttons work by slipping the button through a fabric or thread loop, or by sliding the button through a reinforced slit called a buttonhole.
Buttons may be manufactured from an extremely wide range of materials, including natural materials such as antler, bone, horn, ivory, shell, vegetable ivory, and wood; or synthetics such as celluloid, glass, metal, bakelite and plastic.
Hard plastic is by far the most common material for newly manufactured buttons; the other materials tend to occur only in premium apparel.


Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments rather than fasteners have been discovered in the ancient Indus Valley during its Kot Dijy phase (circa 2800-2600 BC) and Bronze Age sites in China (circa 2000-1500 BC), and are attested in Ancient Rome. Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothing appeared first in Germany in the 13th century. They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.

Types of buttons

Functional buttons (as opposed to decorative buttons) are normally paired with a buttonhole. Alternately, a decorative loop of cloth or rope may replace the buttonhole. Buttonholes may be either made by hand sewing or automated by a sewing machine.
Buttonholes often have a bar at either end. This is a row of perpendicular hand or machine stitching to reinforce the ends of a buttonhole.


  • Carl Kohler, A History of Costume, Dover 1963 reprint, ISBN 0-486-21030-8
  • Bryan Bunch, The History of Science and Technology, Houghton Mifflin Books, 2004 ISBN 0-618-22123-9
button in Czech: Knoflík
button in German: Knopf (Kleidung)
button in Spanish: Botón (vestimenta)
button in Esperanto: Butono
button in French: Bouton (couture)
button in Galician: Botón (vestimenta)
button in Italian: Bottone
button in Dutch: Knoop (kleding)
button in Japanese: ボタン (服飾)
button in Polish: Guzik
button in Portuguese: Botão
button in Russian: Пуговица
button in Finnish: Nappi
button in Swedish: Knapp
button in Thai: กระดุม
button in Turkish: Düğme
button in Ukrainian: Ґудзик
button in Chinese: 鈕扣

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a continental, a curse, a damn, a darn, a hoot, anchor, armory, articulate, badge, badge of office, badges, bagatelle, band, bandage, bang, bantam, banty, bar, barrette, barricade, baton, batten, batten down, bauble, bean, bellyband, belt, bibelot, bilge, bind, binding, binding stone, binding twine, bit, blain, blazonry, bleb, blister, blob, bobby pin, bollard, bolt, bonder, bondstone, boss, bow, box hook, brace, braces, brad, braid, brass farthing, brassard, bubble, buckle, bulb, bulge, bulla, bullion, bump, bunch, burl, butt, button up, cable, cahot, cap and gown, carpet tack, cast, casting, catch, cent, chain, chain of office, chin, chine, chit, choke, choke off, cinch, cincture, clamp, clap, clasp, class ring, cleat, click, clinch, clip, close, close up, clothespin, clump, cockade, collar, condyle, constrict, contain, contract, convex, corking pin, cotter, cover, cross, curio, decoration, diminutive, dovetail, dowel, dress, eagle, ear, emblems, ensigns, farce, farthing, fasces, fasten, feather, featherweight, fibula, fig, figurehead, fillet, fingerling, fishhook, flange, flap, fleabite, fleur-de-lis, fold, fold up, folderol, fribble, frippery, funiculus, gall, garter, gate, gaud, gewgaw, gimcrack, girdle, girth, gnarl, grab, grapnel, grappler, grappling iron, guy, hair, hairpin, halfpenny, hammer and sickle, handle, hank, hasp, hawser, haywire, heraldry, hill, hill of beans, hinge, hitch, hitching post, holdfast, hook, hook and eye, hump, hunch, ingot, inkle, insignia, interlocker, jam, jest, jog, joggle, joint, joke, kevel, key, kickshaw, kingpin, knickknack, knickknackery, knob, knot, knur, knurl, lace, lacing, lapel pin, lariat, latch, latchet, leader, ligament, lightweight, line, lip, livery, lock, lock out, lock up, loop, lump, mace, mantle, markings, medal, mentum, mini, minikin, minnow, minny, miter, mockery, mole, molehill, moorings, mortarboard, mortise, mountain, mouse, nail, nevus, noose, nub, nubbin, nubble, nut, occlude, old school tie, padlock, paper clip, papilloma, pawl, peewee, peg, peppercorn, picayune, pig, pin, pinch of snuff, pinprick, pintle, plumb, pony, rabbet, rap, red cent, regalia, regulus, rib, ridge, ring, rivet, roller, rope, rose, row of pins, runt, rush, safety pin, scarf, school ring, screw, seal, seal off, seal up, secure, sennit, setscrew, sew, shamrock, sheet metal, shit, shoulder, shrimp, shut, shut the door, shut up, sigillography, skewer, skull and crossbones, slam, slide fastener, slip, small fry, snap, sneeshing, snip, snippet, snubbing post, sou, sow, sphragistics, spike, spine, splice, squeeze shut, staff, staple, stick, stitch, strangle, strap, straw, string, strop, stub tenon, stud, style, suspenders, swastika, tab, tack, tag, tartan, tendon, terret, thistle, thole, tholepin, thong, thumbtack, tie, tie beam, tit, toggle, toy, treenail, trifle, trinket, triviality, tubercle, tubercule, tug, tuppence, twine, two cents, twopence, uniform, verge, verruca, vesicle, vise, wale, wand, wart, wedge, welt, whang, whim-wham, wire, wisp, zip up, zipper
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