batten1 /ˈbat(ə)n/

b

I. noun

1. a long flat strip of squared timber or metal used to hold something in place or as a fastening against a wall.
2. a strip of wood or metal for securing a tarpaulin over a ship’s hatchway.
3. a strip of wood or plastic used to stiffen and hold the leech of a sail out from the mast.
II. verb [with obj.]

1. strengthen or fasten (something) with battens

Stephen was battening down the shutters.
III. phrases

batten down the hatches
a.
[Nautical] secure a ship’s tarpaulins.
b. prepare for a difficulty or crisis.

a natural tendency in times of recession is to batten down the hatches.
– origin late 15th cent.: from Old French batant, present participle (used as a noun) of batre ‘to beat’, from Latin battuere.

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