Batten



to thrive by feeding; grow fat.
to feed gluttonously or greedily; glut oneself.
to thrive, prosper, or live in luxury, especially at the expense of others:
robber barons who battened on the poor.
to cause to thrive by or as if by feeding; fatten.
a small board or strip of wood used for various building purposes, as to cover joints between boards, reinforce certain doors, or supply a foundation for lathing.
a transverse iron or steel strip supporting the flooring strips of a metal fire escape.
Nautical.

a thin strip of wood inserted in a sail to keep it flat.
a thin, flat length of wood or metal used for various purposes, as to hold the tarpaulin covering a hatch in place.

Shipbuilding. a flexible strip of wood used for fairing the lines of a hull on the floor of a mold loft.
Theater.

Also called pipe batten. a length of metal pipe hung from the gridiron, for suspending scenery or equipment, as drops, flats, or lighting units.
a narrow strip of lumber for constructing, reinforcing, or joining flats.
a similar strip attached to a drop to keep it flat or taut.

to furnish or bolster with battens.
Nautical. to cover (a hatch) so as to make watertight (usually followed by down).
Machinery. to secure (work) to a table or bed for a machining operation.
Building Trades. to join or assemble (a steel column or the like) with batten plates.
Theater.

to suspend (scenery, stage lights, etc.) from a batten.
to fasten a batten to (a flat or drop).

(in a loom) the swinging frame for holding and positioning the reed.
a part of the lay of a loom.
to beat (filling yarn) into place with the batten.
Jean (“The Garbo of the Skies”) 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: first woman to make solo round-trip flight between England and Australia, 1934–35.
Contemporary Examples

Pity the poor Zanesvillians who had to batten down the hatches to avoid being eaten by the 18 free-roaming Bengal tigers.
Lights, Camera, Cocktails Brody Brown October 21, 2011

He should make one stop in Michigan to batten it down (Wisconsin looks safe, as does Pennsylvania), and maybe New Hampshire.
Michael Tomasky on How Obama Can Seal the Deal in the Final Days Michael Tomasky October 31, 2012

Historical Examples

My purpose was to return on deck—strike off the batten—and set the grating free.
Ran Away to Sea Mayne Reid

After the stakes were set up we had to batten them together.
Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2) William Delisle Hay

The other side of the river, Miss; probably from some rising ground a little north of batten Kil.
Elsie Yachting with the Raymonds Martha Finley

By the third motion the batten crowds this weft-thread into place.
Home Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle

The window openings were closed by batten shutters, operated by hinges of wood and fitted with wooden fastening devices.
New Discoveries at Jamestown John L. Cotter

Scott ordered the men to batten down the curtains on the weather side.
Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic

The batten sleeves are small pockets into which thin pieces of cane (called battens) are inserted to help the sail to set nicely.
Boys’ Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates

But tell me, Oliver, have you heard of the accident to poor batten?
Deep Down, a Tale of the Cornish Mines R.M. Ballantyne

noun
a sawn strip of wood used in building to cover joints, provide a fixing for tiles or slates, support lathing, etc
a long narrow board used for flooring
a narrow flat length of wood or plastic inserted in pockets of a sail to give it proper shape
a lath used for holding a tarpaulin along the side of a raised hatch on a ship
(theatre)

a row of lights
the strip or bar supporting them

(NZ) Also called dropper. an upright part of a fence made of wood or other material, designed to keep wires at equal distances apart
verb
(transitive) to furnish or strengthen with battens
batten down the hatches

to use battens in nailing a tarpaulin over a hatch on a ship to make it secure
to prepare for action, a crisis, etc

verb
(intransitive) usually foll by on. to thrive, esp at the expense of someone else: to batten on the needy
noun
Jean. 1909–82, New Zealand aviator: the first woman to fly single-handed from Australia to Britain (1935)
n.

“strip of wood (especially used to fasten canvas over ships’ hatches),” 1650s, anglicized variant of baton “a stick, a staff” (see baton). Nautical use attested from 1769.
v.

“to improve; to fatten,” 1590s, probably representing an English dialectal survival of Old Norse batna “improve” (cf. Old English batian, Old Frisian batia, Old High German bazen, Gothic gabatnan “to become better, avail, benefit,” Old English bet “better;” cf. also boot (v.)). Related: Battened; battening.

“to furnish with battens,” 1775, from batten (n.); phrase batten down recorded from 1823. Related: Battened; battening.

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  • Battener

    a small board or strip of wood used for various building purposes, as to cover joints between boards, reinforce certain doors, or supply a foundation for lathing. a transverse iron or steel strip supporting the flooring strips of a metal fire escape. Nautical. a thin strip of wood inserted in a sail to keep it […]

  • Hatch

    to bring forth (young) from the egg. to cause young to emerge from (the egg) as by brooding or incubating. to bring forth or produce; devise; create; contrive; concoct: to hatch a scheme. to be hatched. to brood. the act of hatching. something that is hatched, as a brood. Nautical. Also called hatchway. an opening, […]



  • Batten down the hatches

    Nautical. Also called hatchway. an opening, usually rectangular, in the deck through which passengers can pass, cargo can be loaded or unloaded, etc. the cover over such an opening. an opening that serves as a doorway or window in the floor or roof of a building. the cover over such an opening. Slang. the throat […]

  • Batten plate

    an iron or steel plate uniting the angles or flanges of a composite girder, column, or strut. noun (in structural design) a horizontal rectangular plate that is used to connect pairs of steel sections by being riveted or welded across them to form a composite section



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