Definition of buckle in US English:



  • 1A flat, typically rectangular frame with a hinged pin, used for joining the ends of a belt or strap.

    • ‘A few men arrive galloping out of the brush, cool atop their mounts, sporting cowboy hats and silver-and-gold Western-style belt buckles.’
    • ‘She was wearing knee-length tan boots, a dark blue denim mini-skirt, a red belt with a double buckle, a black backless top and a PVC three-quarter length black jacket.’
    • ‘His is an impressive collection of rusty coins and nails, corroded bullets and belt buckles, pieces of swords and knives, shards and bits of broken bottles.’
    • ‘Gold items like armlets and belt buckles are well in evidence, although only reproductions are on display for the sake of security.’
    • ‘The back of the cap has a quick release buckle and a strap to adjust sizing.’
    • ‘Dating from the late ninth century AD, the hoard includes silver coins, fragments of two swords, weights, a belt buckle, strap ends as well as the boat nails.’
    • ‘Yes, belts, buckles and zips are high fashion for us men this winter.’
    • ‘Good Italian leather belts with simple buckles are now found in many stores.’
    • ‘I bought a leather belt with a heart-shaped buckle on it, from my favourite vintage clothes shop.’
    • ‘As well as the boat nails, the collection, which dates from the late 9th century, includes silver coins, copper and lead weights and part of a scale balance, a belt buckle and strap ends.’
    • ‘If the belt is not fitted correctly around the frame, the buckle can also snap when the car is in a major impact.’
    • ‘Officers have been trained to aim at the belt buckle of the target to avoid hitting the head, which could still cause death.’
    • ‘For a brief moment I considered staying with the party; I could buy tight jeans, wear cowboy hats and belts with oversized buckles, and always tuck in my shirt.’
    • ‘The Flex-Strap closure is on all new 2004 styles that have a plastic buckle.’
    • ‘He wore a pressed blue shirt that day, and a belt buckle enameled with stars and planets - a leftover, perhaps, from his physics days.’
    • ‘And the belt buckles are sometimes bigger around than my scrawny waist.’
    • ‘She clanked softly as she moved - her whole body was covered with belts and buckles and straps.’
    • ‘The collection includes a gold item thought to be a belt buckle and an impressive gold breastplate.’
    • ‘These workers are everywhere in the streets, selling such things as candy, shoe laces, toys, fruits, gum, incense or belt buckles.’
    • ‘In-line skates are manufactured with every possible combination of buckles and laces.’
    clasp, clip, catch, fastener, fastening, hasp
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    1. 1.1 A similarly shaped ornament on a shoe.
      • ‘And she had a new pair of black patent-leather shoes, with gold buckles, and she had white opaque tights.’
      • ‘So if your buttons are gold, then wear a gold buckle and a gold watch.’
      • ‘North Yorkshire Police are now scanning CCTV tapes to try to identify the attacker, who was smartly dressed with distinctive shiny shoes which had silver or gold buckles.’
      • ‘Details include ribbons, personalized buckles and jewellery, patterned macro T-shirts and V-neck pullovers.’
      • ‘And, in fact, the buckles on his wedding shoes for the day of his marriage were worth two million pounds or so, $3 million by today's standards.’
      • ‘This entails making the costumes for the bride, groom and their families, and slippers and copper buckles, all of which are essential in the Javanese wedding ensemble.’
      • ‘She said big sellers there are stilettos and T-straps; anything with chains, buckles or unusual ornaments; and red shoes or metallic designs.’
      • ‘Personal ornaments - strap-ends, buckles, brooches, jewellery and the like - suggest that what was true for the lordly classes was true also for the populace as a whole.’
      • ‘The uniform shoes the girls wore were plain white, with silver buckles.’
      • ‘He's wearing the right gear, too: a dark blue jacket, a black T - shirt, pin-striped trousers and patent leather shoes with shiny silver buckles.’
      • ‘Henriette fiddled with the buckle on her dance shoe.’
      • ‘The boots were fabulous, adorned with buckles and grommets.’
      • ‘Long silken stockings ran from his knees into his tiny little shoes with silver buckles.’
      • ‘To complete the outfit, I wore a pair of slip on shoes with a huge buckle, which I'd also found in the Cancer Care shop.’
      • ‘Black moccasins and a pair of slippers with gold-coloured buckles were shoved against the wall.’
      • ‘Accessories include hats, bags, a parasol, a fox fur and, shoes, including gold court shoes with diamanté buckles dating from 1900.’
      • ‘She sat on the bed and battled against the clock to do up the buckles on her shoes.’
      • ‘You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book which will be lost when you are old.’
      • ‘On her feet were white silk slippers with rhinestone buckles, and over her arm she carried a white shawl.’
      • ‘Her shoes were opened toed, and had a gold buckle over the top, very dainty and feminine.’
  • 2North American with modifier A cake made with fruit (typically blueberries) and having a streusel topping.

    ‘finish off the meal with a blueberry buckle for dessert’


  • 1with object Fasten or decorate with a buckle.

    ‘he buckled his belt’
    • ‘Who among us doesn't buckle themselves in for an airline flight hoping that the next seat remains vacant?’
    • ‘I put the saddle on and began buckling the girth.’
    • ‘I buckled on the belt and clipped the knife to it, then hefted the sword gingerly.’
    • ‘He washed up and stood in front of the mirror, buckling this, buttoning that.’
    • ‘He helped me up onto the giant passenger seat and buckled the belt.’
    • ‘He left it unbuttoned, as he found it difficult to bend at the waist after he had buckled it.’
    • ‘Mr. Matthew Wilson handed me a pair of shiny black shoes silently and I sat down for a moment to put them on, buckling them tight on my feet.’
    • ‘After several failed attempts she grabbed it and began buckling the crotch strap together.’
    • ‘Children under the age of 2 will not be required to be buckled into their own seat.’
    • ‘His trousers aren't fastened at the top, nor is his belt buckled.’
    • ‘She buckled her seat belt and opened the window to look out on Newark at night.’
    • ‘‘I can do that,’ she said, buckling the bag shut and standing up.’
    • ‘I put her in the passenger seat, buckling her in.’
    • ‘Mark finished buckling the last piece and then bent down to get my sword and helmet.’
    • ‘I grabbed one of the nylon loops that hung from the ceiling and buckled it to my lap belt, harness-style.’
    • ‘Lee put her bag in the back then buckled herself in.’
    • ‘When I get in the race car, I buckle my belts the same way every time, I put my helmet on the same way.’
    • ‘Checking out my fellow passengers as the pilot completes his final preparations for the 10-minute flight, I half expect to see James Bond buckling himself in.’
    • ‘Adam looked at the Marshall through narrowed eyes as he buckled on his gun belt.’
    • ‘After buckling her safely in her car seat, I came around the back of the car to climb into the driver's seat.’
    fasten, do up, hook, strap, tie, secure, clasp, catch, clip
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    1. 1.1buckle upno object Fasten one's seat belt in a car or aircraft.
      • ‘Surveys conducted earlier this year indicated that many motorists just ‘forgot’ to buckle up after stopping for a short time, in car parks, at waste drop off centres and even at fast food outlets.’
      • ‘Everyone needs to be buckled up properly: older kids in seat belts, younger kids in booster seats and toddlers in child safety seats.’
      • ‘So, buckle up, happy flying and I think you'll find a little education goes a very long way toward reducing your fears.’
      • ‘Fortunately, we had both buckled up and our seat belts restrained us from flying through the windshield, which would have been an even worse thing that could happen.’
      • ‘You know, this is a tough decision, because everyone in the aviation industry does agree that buckling up into your own seat is the safest way for everyone to go: adults, babies, toddlers, everyone.’
      • ‘Perhaps most irritating of all was the nagging seat-belt warning that persisted for an annoying extra few beeps even after you had buckled up.’
      • ‘I buckle up and bring the 550-hp supercharged V - 8 in life singing sweetly just behind my right shoulder.’
      • ‘And with that the captain reminded everyone to buckle up.’
      • ‘Bradsher reports that four-fifths of those killed in roll-overs were not belted in, even though 75 percent of the general driving population now buckles up regularly.’
      • ‘Instead, he had buckled up tight and prayed that the air bag worked, screaming at the top of his lungs as he sped towards the impending collision.’
      • ‘More drivers are buckling up more often, according to a seat belt survey conducted last week.’
      • ‘A new law requiring all new minibuses to install seat-belts and all passengers to buckle up is set to come into effect this year.’
      • ‘On every trip, cabin crew have given clear pre-landing instructions for people to remain buckled up and in their seats until the aircraft comes to a complete standstill.’
      • ‘Increase your odds of walking away: drive the speed limit and buckle up!’
      • ‘Kerry motorists have been warned to buckle up or face the consequences as the penalty points system has been extended to cover the non-wearing of seat belts since Monday.’
      • ‘Sometimes a change of altitude helps, although usually this type of turbulence is short-lived, and we prepare by having everyone, including our flight attendants, sit down and buckle up.’
      • ‘Two clicks could be heard from the back seat as the girls buckled up.’
      • ‘An alert of impending rough air would give pilots time to warn passengers and flight attendants to buckle up and take steps to reduce turbulence effects.’
      • ‘But only a Jaguar can afford to sport a system this advanced - for the rest of us - buckle up.’
      • ‘May I have your attention please, we are now entering Tokyo Airport please buckle up this will be a bumpy ride.’
  • 2no object Bend and give way under pressure or strain.

    ‘the earth buckled under the titanic stress’
    • ‘It had obviously been made for speed, it was narrow, and bullet shaped, made of a light, and rare material, that buckled under only the highest pressures.’
    • ‘The 14th century bridge next to the Nestlé factory has been buckling under the strain of heavy goods vehicles for years and now Wiltshire County Council are carrying out work to strengthen it.’
    • ‘The crowd cheered as he shifted to the side and blocked, although I was pleased to see he buckled under the pressure of the blow.’
    • ‘The pain was almost unbearable as they continued to apply pressure and his knees buckled under the strain.’
    • ‘Transfer energy bent and warped the outer hull of the ship and one section vented atmosphere as the outer hull buckled under strain.’
    • ‘As the protein binds to DNA, the molecule buckles to form a loop which is sufficiently long-lived to be observed as a decrease in its extension.’
    • ‘So does that necessarily mean the young midfielder is buckling under the pressure?’
    • ‘For a second day speed restrictions were placed on tracks across the country amid fears they might buckle on what proved to be the hottest day of the year so far.’
    • ‘The welfare state is buckling under the pressures of modern life and being dismantled.’
    • ‘His knees were buckling under the strain, but he stayed strong.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the wall was wooden and buckled under the pressure, so there were no lasting ill effects.’
    • ‘Some have been there for so many hundreds of years that they have buckled with the shifting of the earth and the passage of time.’
    • ‘I looked down to my thighs, marbled like a well slapped slice of corned beef, knees buckling under the strain, heart and lungs in danger of packing up forever.’
    • ‘Legs, heart and lungs often fail to keep pace with the rapid body growth, so that legs buckle under the strain of supporting an over-developed body.’
    • ‘It is now so bad the bedroom window is taking some of the weight of the roof and is buckling under the strain.’
    • ‘The air in the hallway flickers for a moment then fades imperceptibly as the shield buckles under the pressure.’
    • ‘Instead of cracking it literally buckled under the pressure, and molded itself back into place as it had once been.’
    • ‘Many colonies were formally acquired to protect economic interests when local order buckled under the pressure of European activities.’
    • ‘The pairings were evenly matched for much of the opening nine holes before Harrington and McGinley buckled under the relentless pressure from their opponents on the back nine.’
    • ‘Some online brokers found their sites buckling under the strain of massive demand.’
    warp, become warped, make warped, bend, bend out of shape, become bent, make bent, twist, become twisted, make twisted, curve, become curved, make curved, distort, become distorted, make distorted, contort, become contorted, make contorted, become crooked, make crooked, deform, become deformed, make deformed, malform, become malformed, make malformed, misshape, become misshapen, make misshapen, mangle, become mangled, make mangled, develop a fold, develop a kink, develop a wrinkle, bulge, arc, arch, wrinkle
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    1. 2.1with object Bend (something) out of shape.
      ‘a giant oak buckles the sidewalk’
      • ‘Mountains formed, swelling and then buckling the altered landscape.’
      • ‘She struck the frigate, buckling the port 30 mm gun deck, crushing the sea-boat sponsons and damaging the bridge wing.’
      • ‘Peat extraction focuses around the more northerly Levels by the River Brue, where the treacherous ground still buckles the roads.’
      • ‘The front wheel is buckled and the back wheel is bent.’
      • ‘Railings around the foredeck had been buckled and the deck plating of the tip of the foredeck had been buckled.’
      • ‘The students first asked for monetary compensation of the month's rent after a leak from the washing machine buckled the floorboards, making them feel unsafe about living in the flat.’
      • ‘‘It had buckled the whole car and you have got to think about the amount of solid metal there is in a BMW,’ Ms Donaldson said.’
      • ‘The roads were teeth-rattlingly bad and the BMW buckled a front wheel.’
      • ‘And in January the company caused traffic chaos for almost a week when a one of their pipes burst and buckled a 100 ft stretch of the Great Western Way.’
      • ‘However, when I came to tune the gears, I realised how badly buckled the rear wheel was.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, work has yet to start on the Calderdale side of the border, where a landslide above the road has buckled the tarmac and pushed over fence posts.’
      • ‘The driver was quite apologetic, and my bike wasn't damaged (didn't even buckle the wheel), so I'm chalking it up to experience.’
      • ‘Twisted metal and buckled bulkheads bore witness to destructive forces of the British torpedoes that had struck on the freezing April night.’
      • ‘The door was ripped in half, the ceiling was punctured in a dozen places, a gaping hole was left in the floorboards and the window frame was buckled under the impact of the explosion.’
      • ‘The problem is, the car door is often buckled and wedged shut by the crash.’
      • ‘The intense heat buckled the corrugated steel exterior.’
      • ‘Thames Water is resurfacing the road after the burst pipe buckled a 100 ft stretch of the carriageway about six inches deep.’
      • ‘Water poured from the pipe and buckled the road making it impassable.’
      • ‘An armored vehicle climbed the home's marble stairs and buckled the walls.’
      • ‘A motorist who claims her car wheel was buckled by a pothole in a road has been told by Bradford Council she will not receive compensation.’
      curve, crook, make crooked, make curved, flex, angle, hook, bow, arc, arch, warp, contort, distort, deform
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    2. 2.2 (of a person) yield or collapse under pressure.
      ‘a weaker person might have buckled under the strain’
      • ‘As Leslie admitted yesterday, he had even contemplated suicide as he buckled under the weight of the pressure.’
      • ‘We don't buckle under pressure, we just get stronger.’
      • ‘Back then he had buckled, begged for his life, done whatever he was ordered to do just to survive.’
      • ‘While the country expects, our pallid hero will buckle under the weight, following in the footsteps of a long line of unlucky losers.’
      • ‘He buckled under that pressure and he panicked.’
      • ‘Recently, though, I've started to buckle under the pressure of going green.’
      • ‘His feet touched the ground and he knees buckled under the sudden weight gain.’
      • ‘Yet he never buckled, never once cracked and instead showed a strength of character that even I, his friend for years, didn't know he possessed.’
      • ‘These buildings may have crumpled under the pressure of the quake, but I know for sure that the people will not buckle that easily.’
      • ‘And it's because, you know, they believe that if they can put enough pressure on you that you'll buckle and that you'll give them what they want.’
      • ‘The son was trying to keep things positive, but after a month in the hospital, his father buckled under the stress and returned home.’
      • ‘Let me pretend to be their most dedicated and principled spokesman, the one who won't buckle no matter what concessions the Chancellor delivers from his sack.’
      • ‘Although Sanchez stubbornly resisted, last weekend she finally buckled.’
      • ‘Joshua, 7, was unable to cope at the local school, and James's daughter Catherine was buckling under the strain of fighting to get his needs met.’
      • ‘The time has come, and I may buckle under the pressure.’
      • ‘He maintains he is feeling as good as ever and by the sound of his summer tales, he could buckle from sheer exhaustion before his left knee does from a shortage of ligament stability.’
      • ‘After two days of damaging headlines he finally buckled and declared he would not challenge.’
      • ‘Some au pair arrangements work out well, but there have been many cases of inexperienced au pairs with little or no language buckling under the pressure, and children not responding well to constant changes.’
      • ‘Despite their joy at becoming parents again, the couple are buckling under the strain, with Ellie stopping work to care for the babies and Joe struggling to run the firm alone.’
      • ‘There is only one end to an explosion in debt - an explosion in misery as families buckle under the weight of repayments.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • buckle down

    • Tackle a task with determination.

      ‘they will buckle down to negotiations over the next few months’
      • ‘He soon buckled down to part-time study, gaining his bachelor of commerce degree at the University of Auckland as part of a standard accountancy career.’
      • ‘He's a wealthy lad and could have walked away from it but he's buckled down and all the lads are delighted he's coming good.’
      • ‘Charley buckled down, determined to play as hard as ever even if this racquet turned to dust in his hands.’
      • ‘I still have another month left of school - my last Provincial is on the 29th and I'm graduating this year so I really have to buckle down and focus on school.’
      • ‘She tries various part-time jobs and finally buckles down to junior college, using her $10,000 yearly caretaker benefit for tuition and childcare.’
      • ‘On Saturday they embark on the Smash Hits tour for three weeks before buckling down to rehearsing their Christmas gigs in earnest.’
      • ‘The real task at hand is to enjoy the holidays, then buckle down once again on a realistic set of New Year's resolutions.’
      • ‘Phil Mellor raised Grange's hopes but Bill Bodycombe and Nigel Jackson buckled down to their task to lead the visitors safely home.’
      • ‘‘I was so determined, I just buckled down to it,’ he said.’
      • ‘I can sit, gazing into space and think about all the things I need to do, act them out in my head, but actually buckling down to do something is out of the question.’
      • ‘The challenge of understanding the Scottish banter and buckling down to Scottish ways has already begun.’
      • ‘A team of judges buckled down yesterday to the difficult task of shortlisting nominees in the first category of Gift of Life.’
      • ‘Her father brings her to Nashville, Tennessee, and under his iron fist she buckles down and lands her first broadcasting job before her 20th birthday.’
      • ‘But, she just buckles down and continues to take care of all of us, like she always has.’
      • ‘Simon Mason and Rob Flack buckled down to a steady partnership but both left along with Marcus Wood within nine overs and York found themselves at 90-4 with 22 overs left.’
      • ‘However, those who do set attainable goals, and buckle down and learn to focus, can be models of unwavering dedication.’
      • ‘I've performed quite a few tasks that I didn't necessarily know how to do, or was maybe not exactly physically capable of doing, just by buckling down and figuring it out.’
      • ‘But then Saval, with Donal Murphy playing great stuff, buckled down to the task with Fergal McConville and Paul Greenan replying, to leave eight points between the teams.’
      • ‘We've got to keep buckling down and going for it.’
      • ‘But now that he had had his fun, Astor told himself, he had to buckle down to the task of earning all that bread.’
      get to work, get down to work, set to work, get down to business, roll up one's sleeves, put one's hand to the plough
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Middle English: from Old French bocle, from Latin buccula ‘cheek strap of a helmet’, from bucca ‘cheek’. buckle (sense 2 of the verb) is from French boucler ‘to bulge’.