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Batten down the hatches


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 as used for drinking: His usual toast was a muttered “Down the hatch!”.
Aeronautics. an opening or door in an aircraft.
the lower half of a divided door, both parts of which can be opened separately.
a small door, grated opening, or serving counter in or attached to the wall of a building, room, etc., as for a merchant’s stall.
a bin or compartment built into a confined space, especially a deep storage bin.

the cargo area in a hatchback.
Also called liftgate. the hinged lid of a hatchback that swings upward to provide access to the cargo area.

anything resembling a hatch.
batten down the / one’s hatches,

Nautical. prepare for stormy weather: used as a command.
to prepare to meet an emergency or face a great difficulty:
The government must batten down its hatches before the election.

to cause (the young of various animals, esp birds) to emerge from the egg or (of young birds, etc) to emerge from the egg
to cause (eggs) to break and release the fully developed young or (of eggs) to break and release the young animal within
(transitive) to contrive or devise (a scheme, plot, etc)
the act or process of hatching
a group of newly hatched animals
a covering for a hatchway

short for hatchway
a door in an aircraft or spacecraft

Also called serving hatch. an opening in a wall between a kitchen and a dining area
the lower half of a divided door
a sluice or sliding gate in a dam, dyke, or weir
(slang) down the hatch, (used as a toast) drink up!
under hatches

below decks
out of sight
brought low; dead

(art) to mark (a figure, shade, etc) with fine parallel or crossed lines to indicate shading Compare hachure
(informal) short for hatchback

“to produce young from eggs by incubation,” from Middle English hachen (early 13c.), probably from an unrecorded Old English *hæccan, of unknown origin, related to Middle High German, German hecken “to mate” (used of birds). Meaning “to come forth from an egg” is late 14c. Figurative use (of plots, etc.) is from early 14c. Related: Hatched; hatching.

“engrave, draw fine parallel lines,” late 14c., from Old French hachier “chop up, hack” (14c.), from hache “ax” (see hatchet). Related: Hatched; hatching. The noun meaning “an engraved line or stroke” is from 1650s.

“opening,” Old English hæc (genitive hæcce) “fence, grating, gate,” from Proto-Germanic *hak- (cf. Middle High German heck, Dutch hek “fence, gate”). This apparently is the source of many of the Hatcher surnames; “one who lives near a gate.” Sense of “plank opening in ship’s deck” is first recorded mid-13c. Drinking phrase down the hatch first recorded 1931.

verb phrase

To get ready for trouble; take precautions; buckle your seat belts: So we batten down the hatches and wait it out

[late 1800s+; fr the action of a ship’s crew securing wooden battens over the hatches in anticipation of a gale]


The mouth and throat: DeCasseres would hurl the first legal drink down his hatch (1931+)

Related Terms

booby hatch, down the hatch, nuthouse
Prepare for trouble, as in Here comes the boss—batten down the hatches. This term originated in the navy, where it signified preparing for a storm by fastening down canvas over doorways and hatches (openings) with strips of wood called battens. [ Late 1800s ]

batten down the hatches
count one’s chickens before they hatch
down the hatch


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