Definition of baton in English:

baton

noun

  • 1A thin stick used by a conductor to direct an orchestra or choir.

    • ‘When he conducted, the baton looked small and yet he held it so delicately.’
    • ‘But the fact remains that on September 7, Rattle will take a huge step away from Britain when he finally takes up his baton as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.’
    • ‘It was natural, of course, that a man who had stood, holding his conductor's baton on the greatest cities of the world would be like this.’
    • ‘I remember the conductor's baton coming down and everyone started to play except me who had no idea of where I was or of how to follow the beat!’
    • ‘Under the baton of veteran Musical Director Derek Broadbent the orchestra seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as the cast.’
    • ‘Ever wonder just what, exactly, a composer is doing when he's waving his baton around while the orchestra plays?’
    • ‘He is a phenomenon of the podium, an immigrant kid who first raised a baton for Toscanini at the age of seven and has since conducted 5,000 performances.’
    • ‘He waved a hand in the air like he was holding a baton and conducting an orchestra.’
    • ‘Later, at school in Uppingham, he even wielded the baton, with evident glee, for a newly composed opera written by a young friend.’
    • ‘But I still prefer my own, a Victorian ivory and ebony conductor's baton.’
    • ‘Now Jansons is taking his baton to orchestras that have nothing to prove.’
    • ‘So, in desperation, the Italian orchestra handed the baton over to its own principal cellist.’
    • ‘I normally deplore applause that begins before the conductor lowers his baton, but I joined in the spontaneous delight at the pyrotechnics.’
    • ‘From the day he raised a baton as principal conductor in Birmingham in 1980, Rattle has been the golden boy of classical music.’
    • ‘Holding the baton for the choir was music teacher, Fiona McPhillips.’
    • ‘This is home to the Seattle Symphony, but even before the conductor lifts his baton, you get a show.’
    • ‘When a conductor raises or lowers his or her baton, the musicians know it is time to start or stop playing.’
    • ‘The singing is excellent down through the cast and the orchestra performs splendidly under his incisive baton.’
    • ‘He leads with an incisive baton and the orchestra and chorus respond with spirit.’
    • ‘The conductor lifted his baton high above his head, and signaled the band to pick up their instruments.’
    stick, rod, staff, wand, bar
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A short stick or tube passed from runner to runner in a relay race.
      • ‘They were leading when their third runner dropped the baton before passing it to the anchor.’
      • ‘Minutes later he was back to hand the baton to the next runner who set off towards Smithy Bridge as smiling onlookers applauded and yelled their support.’
      • ‘The Queen will also visit Leeds and attend a garden party at Harewood House on July 11-the day of the baton's relay through the city.’
      • ‘Continuing the theme of movement, the third revealed a split screen showing identical images of relay racers passing a baton.’
      • ‘I've heard her talk about this;the third runner knocked the baton out of her hand, her knee came up.’
    2. 1.2A long stick carried and twirled by a drum major.
      • ‘He set scoring records at Niagara and twirled the baton at Buffalo Bills games.’
      • ‘In the week leading up to the big event, drum majors, baton twirlers and cheerleaders fill hotel staterooms, elevator banks and stairwells.’
      • ‘In 2008, the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted "The Stick" into its lineup of all-time best toys, noting that "sticks can turn into swords, magic wands, majorette batons, and light sabers."’
      • ‘We hope any money collected as part of WISH 2012 will go towards purchasing new uniforms for our majorette troupe and new batons for our dance competitions.’
      • ‘On a sunny July 4 morning in Ripley - a town of 3400 souls - he revelled in the festivities as batons twirled and bands marched.’
      • ‘Firstly, a man brandishes a halberd (a six-foot pole with a wide, glinting blade at its tip) before whirling it around like a majorette might twirl a baton.’
      • ‘They talked about how she was prone to forget her majorette baton and even her performance wig, but never her lip gloss, which she wore all the time.’
      • ‘There might be a Rose Parade all the way to the Hall of Fame with Pete out front twirling the baton if, and when, he becomes eligible.’
    3. 1.3A police officer's club.
      • ‘They were stopped by scores of riot policemen armed with automatic weapons, batons and water cannons.’
      • ‘There were police with tear gas and rubber bullets and batons.’
      • ‘Sam and I quickly shook our arms and police batons fell out of our sleeves.’
      • ‘Twenty thousand police were dispatched, armed with riot gear, tear gas, batons, and live ammunition.’
      • ‘As this too failed to disperse the crowd, officers were forced to try to push back the protesters with batons, water cannons, tear gas and blank bullets.’
      • ‘Police wielded batons and fired tear gas at the protesters.’
      • ‘Police used firearms, tear gas, grenades and batons during the confrontation.’
      • ‘Around 250 police armed with tear gas, water cannons, batons, shields and automatic weapons attacked the workers when they refused to disperse.’
      • ‘Over the course of about thirty demonstrations, more than 100 people were injured by batons, rubber bullets and tear-gas inhalation.’
      • ‘Heavily armed riot police used tear gas, water cannon and batons to break up groups of demonstrators and then chased them down side streets.’
      • ‘Police with guns and batons lined the way, together with armoured vehicles, razor wire and concrete barricades.’
      • ‘He said he was then approached from behind by a uniformed police officer with his baton drawn.’
      • ‘Police wielded batons and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse crowds and take control of the streets.’
      • ‘They were dispersed by riot police using batons and tear gas.’
      • ‘Twenty officers mounted on horses quickly advanced, swinging batons, flanked by police on foot who fired concussion grenades and volleys of rubber bullets.’
      • ‘Earlier in the day seven protesters were arrested when 500 police attempted to disperse a rally using batons and water cannons.’
      • ‘Clashes with riot police armed with batons and tear gas broke out in different areas of the city.’
      • ‘The police had erected iron fences and used tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to disperse the protests.’
      • ‘We are not talking about ‘long time police’, men armed with batons and dressed in short pants.’
      • ‘All members will carry long batons, but there will only be one or two Remington shotguns using plastic bullets and beanbags.’
    4. 1.4A staff symbolizing office or authority, especially one carried by a field marshal.
      • ‘Victory brought Wellington a field marshal's baton, sensitively designed by the Prince Regent himself.’
      • ‘I have a field marshal's baton in the backpack, it is just that the season is not right to take it out.’
      • ‘It is said every soldier carries a field marshal's baton in his knapsack.’
      • ‘Brauchitsch, having been promoted to general in February 1938, was given his field marshal's baton in July 1940.’
    5. 1.5Heraldry
      A narrow bend truncated at each end.
      • ‘By the 17th century a baton sinister was also used to indicate illegitimacy.’
      • ‘With the house of Bourbon the baton distinguished the cadets, while the baton sinister marked the illegitimates.’
    6. 1.6A short bar replacing some figures on the dial of a clock or watch.
      • ‘Petite baton hands and four baton indicators adorn the dial, which is set in a square goldtone steel case with gentle contours and a beautiful polished shine.’
      • ‘It features a black face, Arabic figures and baton hour markers, small seconds dial at 9 o’clock, ‘Black Seal’ inscription at 6 o’clock.’
      • ‘It's accented by large luminous white hands, thin white baton markers, and Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o'clock.’
    7. 1.7One of the suits in some tarot packs, corresponding to wands in others.
      • ‘In the North East of Lombardy the Italian suits -- swords, batons, cups and coins -- are used.’
      • ‘The four latin suits are swords, batons, cups and coins.’
      • ‘The suits are cups, coins, swords and batons, and each suit contains seven different cards: ace, 3, 4, 5, jack, horse, king.’
      • ‘A 40 card pack is used, usually with the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins.’

Phrases

  • pass (on) the baton

    • Hand over a particular duty or responsibility.

      • ‘The world's greatest rower for a decade, he needs one last, great race before passing the baton on permanently to his long-term teammate.’
      • ‘My life is now busy teaching, studying and preparing for the arrival (in mid-October) of our new baby, so I'm pleased to have passed the baton to Mark.’
      • ‘If he can't live with the current system, he says, ‘it is time to pass the baton.’’
      • ‘He passed the baton of his ambition on to me and urged me to become a writer, something he'd dreamed of doing all this life.’
      • ‘Many of my struggles were her struggles, sort of like she passed the baton to me.’
      • ‘But after 18 years as head coach, Clive Marshall has passed the baton to John Bates and become director of rugby.’
      • ‘It is appropriate to pass on the baton at this time, as the new millennium brings altogether new challenges for the industry,’ he said.’
      • ‘I'm very anxious to be here to pass the baton to the next young man or young woman who walks on the moon.’
      • ‘The day Smith recorded her last album, Billie Holiday walked into the same studio to record her first - like passing on the baton.’
      • ‘Should they choose to accept it, I pass the baton on to Adrian and Rhys.’
  • take up (or pick up) the baton

    • Accept a duty or responsibility.

      • ‘This year, people in 23 other locations around the country took up the baton and organised Goal Miles in their own locality.’
      • ‘There are plenty of other districts in Essex which are willing to pick up the baton.’
      • ‘This is a Government initiative and Bradford is happy to take up the baton.’
      • ‘Younger people are needed to take up the baton and continue to fight for Bingley, but there seems to be little interest.’
      • ‘Their father was a great loss but we were all delighted when Elaine and John decided to take up the baton.’
      • ‘This time last year, another past student, Ruth Maloney, took up the baton as musical director for such school productions and has done a wonderful job.’
      • ‘‘I hope to pick up the baton where he's left it,’ Spence said last week.’
      • ‘So it goes back to what we've been talking about for months, business spending needs to pick up the baton.’
      • ‘Somebody needs to pick up the baton here and, you know, without kind of waiting for a consensus or without demanding concessions.’
      • ‘There are younger players, like Owen, who have picked up the baton, and England still have other good strikers.’
  • under the baton of

    • (of an orchestra or choir) conducted by.

      ‘under the baton of Sir Edward Downes’
      • ‘The music lost none of its power as the Queensland Orchestra, under the baton of Tom Woods, brought Francois Klaus's choreography to life.’
      • ‘The London Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, plays works by Dvorák and Sibelius on 12 August.’
      • ‘The soloist was the young Greek violist Alexandros Koustas, with the recently formed Blenheim Chamber Orchestra under the baton of their founder Daniel Cohen.’
      • ‘Director Robert Readman has a strong, capable cast among the Rowntree Players, supported by a fine orchestra under the baton of musical director Mike Thompson.’
      • ‘The orchestra will be under the baton of esteemed conductors Philip Edmondson and Richard Nicholls.’

Origin

Early 16th century (denoting a staff or cudgel): from French bâton, earlier baston, from late Latin bastum stick.

Pronunciation:

baton

/bəˈtän/