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buttonhole (someone)

To confine or accost someone in or with conversation. Likened to holding onto someone by the lapels (on which the buttonhole used for a boutonniere is located). I tried to leave the office early, but Larry buttonholed me with a tedious conversation about weekend plans.
See also: buttonhole

buttonhole someone

Accost or detain a person in conversation. For example, The reporter tried to buttonhole the senator, but she got away. This term is a metaphor for literally grasping someone by a buttonhole on his or her clothing. [Mid-1800s]
See also: buttonhole


tv. to accost someone; to make someone listen to one. (As if grabbing someone by the coat lapel to keep them from getting away.) The guy buttonholed me on my way out, and started asking me a lot of questions.
References in classic literature ?
I am the only person of the smallest importance in London at present who wears a buttonhole.
For the future a more trivial buttonhole, Phipps, on Thursday evenings.
She has had a loss in her family lately, which perhaps accounts for the lack of triviality your lordship complains of in the buttonhole.
The shop is in the arcade of a railway station not very far from the Victoria and Albert Museum; and if you live in that neighborhood you may go there any day and buy a buttonhole from Eliza.
Unfortunately you can't buttonhole familiarly a young girl as you would a young fellow.
But who shall tell the joy of the next morning, when the church bells were ringing a merry peal, and old Benjy appeared in the servants' hall, resplendent in a long blue coat and brass buttons, and a pair of old yellow buckskins and top-boots which he had cleaned for and inherited from Tom's grandfather, a stout thorn stick in his hand, and a nosegay of pinks and lavender in his buttonhole, and led away Tom in his best clothes, and two new shillings in his breeches-pockets?
As a preliminary to another journey to his bunk, he hooked Wolf Larsen's buttonhole with a greasy forefinger and vacuously proclaimed and reiterated, "I got money, I got money, I tell yer, an' I'm a gentleman's son.
The Prince - in the buttonhole of whose frock-coat was a large bunch of Russian violets, passed across the threshold.
He stuck it in his buttonhole with an air of ineffable complacency for a misanthrope, and leering exultingly at the unconscious Short, muttered, as he laid himself down again, 'Tom Codlin's the friend, by G--
The buttonholes will be straight-cut with a finished length of A' to 9/16 inch.
Two young ladies who sold buttonholes for the benefit of the joint funds, paid PS5 towards the total.
Officers wore uniforms of fine or superfine quality; dyed with expensive dyes, and decorated with taped buttonholes in wool tape, or silver as befit their rank.
It had buttonholes that appeared normal, but on closer inspection sent the viewer spinning down a mindbending Escheresque wormhole.
But inviting two llamas to your big day too is surely asking for double trouble - especially when one is known for being more than a little naughty, munching his way through bouquets and buttonholes.
The team will work with the lucky bride to create flowers, which could include bouquets, buttonholes and table arrangements designed to match the personality and taste of the bride and groom.