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A decoy in an auction-room; so called because he buttons or ties the unwary to bargains offered for sale. The button fastens or fixes what else would slip away.

The button of the cap. The tip-top. Thus, in Hamlet, Guildenstern says: “On fortune’s cap we are not the very button” (act ii. sc. 2), i.e. the most highly favoured. The button on the cap was a mark of honour. Thus, in China to the present hour, the first grade of literary honour is the privilege of adding a gold button to the cap, a custom adopted in several collegiate schools of England. This gives the expression quoted a further force. Also, the several grades of mandarins are distinguished by a different coloured button on the top of their cap.

Button (of a foil). The piece of cork fixed to the end of a foil to protect the point and prevent injury in fencing.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Busy as a Bee
Butcher Boots
Butter-tooth (A)
Buttered Ale
Butterfly Kiss (A)
Button-hole (A)
Buy in (To)
Buy Off (To)
Buy Out (To)
Buy Over (To)
Buy Up (To)
Buying a Pig in a Poke
Buzfuz (Serjeant)