baton


baton

noun

  1. Music. a wand used by a conductor.
  2. a rod of lightweight metal fitted with a weighted bulb at each end and carried and twirled by a drum major or majorette.
  3. Track. a hollow rod of wood, paper, or plastic that is passed during a race from one member of a relay team to the next in a prescribed area.
  4. a staff, club, or truncheon, especially one serving as a mark of office or authority.
  5. Heraldry.
    1. a diminutive of the bend sinister, couped at the extremities: used in England as a mark of bastardy.
    2. a similar diminutive of the ordinary bend.

noun

  1. a thin stick used by the conductor of an orchestra, choir, etc, to indicate rhythm or expression
    1. a short stick carried for use as a weapon, as by a policeman; truncheon
    2. (as modifier)a baton charge
  2. athletics a short bar carried by a competitor in a relay race and transferred to the next runner at the end of each stage
  3. a long stick with a knob on one end, carried, twirled, and thrown up and down by a drum major or drum majorette, esp at the head of a parade
  4. a staff or club carried by an official as a symbol of authority
  5. heraldry a single narrow diagonal line superimposed on all other charges, esp one curtailed at each end, signifying a bastard line
n.

1540s, “a staff used as a weapon,” from French bâton “stick, walking stick, staff, club, wand,” from Old French baston (12c.) “stick, staff, rod,” from Late Latin bastum “stout staff,” probably of Gaulish origin or else from Greek *baston “support,” from bastazein “to lift up, raise, carry.” Meaning “staff carried as a symbol of office” is from 1580s; musical sense of “conductor’s wand” is from 1841 (from 1839 as a French word in English). Often anglicized 17c.-18c. as batoon.

A stick used by some conductors of choruses or orchestras. The baton is traditionally used to indicate the tempo of the music.

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