Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. To fasten the buttons on an item of clothing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "button" and "up." Button up your coat, it's cold out today! Remember to button your jacket up before you go into the interview.
2. To finish a task; to put the finishing touches on something. Don't worry, I'll be ready in five minutes—I'm just about done buttoning up my paper.
3. To be quiet. Hey, button up! We don't need to hear any more out of you today! Julie knew better than to speak when her father was so angry, so she buttoned up for the moment.
4. To close something, typically a place, securely. I hope you buttoned up the store before you left for the night.
button something up
to fasten something with buttons. Button your shirt up, please. I will button up my shirt.
1. Lit. to fasten one's buttons. Your jacket's open. You'd better button up. It's cold. I'll button up in the car.
2. Fig. to get silent and stay silent. (See also button (up) one's lip.) Hey, button up! That's enough out of you. I wish you would button up and stop gossiping.
1. Close securely, fasten, as in The house was all buttoned up, or Button up your coat-it's very cold. [Late 1500s]
2. Also, button one's lip. Hold one's tongue, keep quiet. For example, Please button your lip about the surprise. A variant of this usage, button one's mouth, dates from the 17th century. [Mid-1800s]
3. Finish successfully, as in I've got this report all buttoned up. [c. 1940]
1. To fasten all the buttons on a garment: He buttoned up the sweater. She buttoned her shirt up.
2. To stop talking: The students buttoned up when the principal walked past. Button up!—You're going to get us in trouble.
3. To close or seal something securely: We buttoned up the cabin for winter.
4. To complete the final details of something: The author is buttoning up the paperback rights before publication.