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vkhu
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 5:00:58 AM
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Joined: 6/18/2012
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What does button up in this paragraph mean?

"Most of them didn’t try to follow, too worried about the zombies in the streets. A few brave souls grabbed on to our armored personnel carriers. They tried to force their way down the hatches. We knocked them off. We had to button up as the ones trapped in buildings started throwing things, lamps, furniture, down on us."
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 5:02:46 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

It is slang/figurative for "batten down the hatches" or "close all the entrances", I think.
excaelis
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:08:10 AM

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Or maybe they suddenly realised that it wasn't, in fact, casual Friday after all...Whistle
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:19:17 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

Interesting - I've never heard of such a thing (as Casual Friday). It obviously didn't spread quite this far from the US.

However - I work in a company that has its head office in Florida. The dress-code is generally T-shirts, sweaters and jeans. Some of the managers wear casual trousers.
Once in a blue moon the managing director wears a real shirt, when he has visitors coming!
chuckc4th
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:39:37 PM
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Joined: 5/26/2009
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Location: United States
To hold or fasten with a mechanical device.
Many navies would use the term 'dog the doors.'
Similar in usage to 'bar the doors.'
CovenantWord
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:40:43 PM

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Location: Farmington, Maine, United States
Well, it is evident that the primary meaning of button up here is to secure the covers of the hatches, and perhaps other vulnerable apertures, against the entry of aggressive persons and missiles. However, I note the concomitant withdrawal of the crews and authorized personnel into the armored vehicles for self-protection; the exclusion of all other parties (forcibly if necessary); and the crews' preparation for attack, including manning available weaponry.

I imagine the metaphorical etymology to be the securing of clothing by means of buttons against the expected intrusion of an environmental factor, as a child's coat in preparation for venturing outdoors into the cold.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 3:42:46 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Nice explanation CovenantWord!

Welcome to the forum!
dusty
Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:55:31 AM

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Joined: 4/13/2012
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I heard somewheres that batten down means to secure from the inside, and button up means to secure from the outside

or another way to put it, battening down is to secure yourself inside against possible damage coming from a outside source and buttoning up is to contain the source that may possibly do damage

Romany
Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013 11:10:45 AM
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Joined: 6/14/2009
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
Oh! I read it completely differently - probably because I've never heard of the phrase 'button up' as an alternative to batten down before.

I just thought it referred to something that might have been mentioned previously: that they were wearing protective clothing of some sort. They didn't need them so much previously but now, as people started throwing things, they had, literally, to button them up for full protection.

Ah well.
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