ba·ton (bə-tŏn, bă-, bătn)
1. Music A slender wooden stick or rod used by a conductor to direct an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
2. A hollow metal rod with a heavy rubber tip or tips that is wielded and twirled by a drum major or drum majorette.
3. A short staff carried by certain public officials as a symbol of office.
4. Sports The hollow cylinder that is carried by each member of a relay team in a running race and passed to the next team member.
5. A short stick carried by police; a billy club.
6. Heraldry A shortened narrow bend, often signifying bastardy.
[French bâton, from Old French baston, stick, from Vulgar Latin *bastō, *bastōn-.]
(click for a larger image)baton
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.