Baton vs batten

Photo of author


Baton and batten are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of baton and batten, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A baton is a stick. The stick that an orchestra conductor uses is a baton, as well as the stick that relay runners pass, the tube that a majorette twirls, or the truncheon that a policeman or military officer carries. The word baton is derived from the Latin word bastum which means a substantial staff.

A batten is a strip of metal or wood that is used to fasten something against the wall or to fasten a ship’s tarp over a hatchway. Batten may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are battens, battened, battening. The phrase batten the hatches may be meant literally, or it may be used figuratively to mean prepare yourself for trouble.


A video showing a Georgia police officer repeatedly hitting a woman with a baton has prompted investigators to reopen the case after the officer was initially cleared of wrong-doing. (USA Today)

“I only wish Wayde had the opportunity to race against Bolt at these championships because I think it would have been a beautiful handing of the baton to the king of athletics.” (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Battened and ledged, battened, ledged and braced, battened, ledged and framed, or battened ledged and framed and braced doors are available for interior uses. (The Hindu)

The new extension features a careful adaptation of the traditional battened back stair, which winds up forming the pivotal motif for Auchenflower’s side elevation. (Archictecture and Design Magazine)