to buttonhole


to force someone to listen to you

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“At the end, a teacher with a microphone BUTTONHOLES Zaman and asks, ‘Are you famous?’”

Tim Lewis - The Guardian Fashion Article: ‘Meet the amazing Ryan Zaman’


“Lobbying at United Nations - Delegates BUTTONHOLE Each Other.”

New York Times article headline

Did you
know?

buttonhole
verb

- attract the attention of and detain someone in conversation, typically against their will

noun

- a slit made in a garment to receive a button for fastening

Oxford English Dictionary


ORIGIN

Ornamental and decorative clothes buttons can be traced back to the Bronze Age. They were often used as a status symbol. Francis I, a French monarch, who ruled during the 16th century, was said to have had 13,600 gold buttons on a single costume.

Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes first appeared in France and Germany in the 13th century.

Buttonholes can also refer to flowers worn in the lapel buttonhole of a coat or jacket.

An interesting story about the origin of the lapel buttonhole involves Prince Albert, who travelled to England in 1840 to marry Queen Victoria. After she gave him a tiny bouquet of flowers, the prince apparently took a penknife from his pocket, cut a hole in the lapel of his coat and inserted the flowers. This was allegedly the first lapel buttonhole.

As for the figurative sense of buttonhole, meaning to make someone listen to what you have to say, this expression originally had nothing to do with the buttonhole, rather just the button.

Grabbing a man by his coat buttons to capture and hold his attention led to the verb buttonholing.


SYNONYMS

accost, ambush, BUTTONHOLE, collar, corner, detain, harass, nobble, pin down, waylay


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“I was late for the meeting because Jim BUTTONHOLED me in the hallway.”


THANKS to Stephen for suggesting today’s OWAD.


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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