Batten - Encyclopedia

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'BATTEN. (1) A term (a form of "baton") used in joinery for a board not more than 4 to 7 in. broad or 3 in. thick, used for various purposes, such as for strengthening or holding together laths and other wood-work; and specially, on board ship, a strip of wood nailed to a mast to prevent rubbing, or fixing down a tarpaulin over a hatchway, in rough weather, to keep out water. (2)A verb (the root is found in words of several Teutonic languages meaning profit or improvement, and also in the English "better" I Mr C. A. van Ophuijsen has published (in Bijd. tot Land-, Taalen Volken-Kunde, 1886) an interesting collection of Battak poetry. He describes a curious leaf language used by Battak lovers, in which the name of some leaf or plant is substituted for the word with which it has greatest phonetic similarity.

and "boot") meaning to improve in condition, especially in the case of animals by feeding; so, to feed gluttonously; the word is used figuratively of prospering at the expense of another.

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