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knoblike appendage used on wearing apparel either for ornament or for fastening. Although buttons were sometimes used as fasteners by Greeks and Romans, they were more often merely ornamental disks. They first became widely used when fitted garments came into use in the 13th cent., and their popularity has varied with the changes in fashion. In the 16th cent. they were magnificent and were classed among the vanities; made of silver or gold and jeweled, they were often set in a long row touching one another. In the 17th cent. cloth-covered buttons with embroidered decoration were popular; buttons appeared on everything, even handkerchiefs. The Puritans, considering buttons a vanity, used hooks and eyes. Early settlers in North America often used buttons in trading with the indigenous peoples. The manufacture of buttons began in the United States c.1826. Buttons, originally made of bronze or bone, have also been made of materials such as metal, porcelain, paste, wood, ivory, horn, pearl, glass, and plastic. There are two main types, those made with holes and those with shanks. The latter have a loop of metal let in through a hole or soldered into place.


See D. Epstein and M. Safro, Buttons (1991); D. J. Wisniewski, Antique & Collectible Buttons (1997).


(computer science)
A small circle or rectangle on a graphical user interface, such that moving the pointer to it and clicking the mouse initiates some action.
A small, round piece of metal alloyed to the base wafer of an alloy-junction transistor. Also known as dot.
The container that holds the carbon granules of a carbon microphone. Also known as carbon button.
Mass of metal remaining in a crucible after fusion has been completed.
That part of a weld which tears out in the destructive testing of spot-, seam-, or projection-welded specimens.


1. A small projecting member such as a piece of wood or metal; used to fasten the frame of a door or window.

turn button, button

A fastener for a window or door which rotates on a pivot and is attached to the frame.


1. a small disc that completes an electric circuit when pushed, as one that operates a doorbell or machine
2. Computing a symbolic representation of a button on the screen of a computer that is notionally depressed by manipulating the mouse to initiate an action
3. Biology any rounded knoblike part or organ, such as an unripe mushroom
4. Fencing the protective knob fixed to the point of a foil
5. a small amount of metal, usually lead, with which gold or silver is fused, thus concentrating it during assaying
6. the piece of a weld that pulls out during the destructive testing of spot welds
7. Rowing a projection around the loom of an oar that prevents it slipping through the rowlock




(operating system)
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.


(1) A small, marked area on an electronic device that is physically pressed down to activate a function. The button may stand out from its base so that it can be located by feel, or it can be level with its base such as the left and right buttons on most mice.

(2) An icon on screen that is "pressed" by clicking it with the mouse or, if a touchscreen, tapping it with a finger.

Simulating a Physical Depression
In the early days of personal computers, on-screen buttons were often made to look like physical buttons by simulating their physical depression when clicked with the mouse. While the mouse button was held down, the software swapped the original button image (left) with a depressed version (right). See mouse over.


Most often the button in your dream is a button on a piece of clothing, rather than a button that you push. Buttons on clothing represent something from your physical, or outer, self. Note if you were buttoning or unbuttoning, and, from there, attempt to obtain meaning. Unbuttoning generally represents an opening up of your emotions or ideas. You may be leaving yourself open to new possibilities as you are letting go of old thoughts and ways of doing things. Alternatively and on a positive side, buttoning up may reflect a need to conserve and to pull inward, to “button” your lip or to restrain yourself in some way. The more negative interpretation of buttoning up may be that you are currently feeling bound, restricted, or lacking some type of freedom.