to buttonhole someone

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - buttonhole someone

"to buttonhole someone"

to accost, detain or stop someone and force the person to engage in conversation


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - buttonhole someone

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I just know that my idea is a really good one. If only there was some way I could get the CEO involved.

Colleague 2:  The "Top 300" executives meeting is next week. The CEO always addresses the attendees and there is an informal meet and greet afterwards. You could buttonhole the CEO at the meet and greet and pitch your idea then.

Colleague 1:  You mean accost the CEO and force him to listen to my idea? That doesn't seem appropriate.

Colleague 2:  If you really want this idea of yours to be heard by the CEO, then drastic measures are necessary.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - buttonhole someone

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Are you enjoying the party?

Friend 2:  Yes, thanks. It is a lot of fun.

Friend 1:  You look like you are trying to avoid someone.

Friend 2:  I am. Alice always tries to buttonhole people so that she can force them to listen to her talk about her endless medical issues. I really don't need to hear about Alice's hemorrhoid issues.

Friend 1:  Thanks for the warning. I will avoid Alice as well.

to buttonhole someone - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   439   click for frequency by country

to buttonhole someone - Gerund Form:

Buttonholing the errant politician, the reporter was able to get enough information for a front page story.

to buttonhole someone - Examples:

1)  ... they regularly blocked would-be attendees who had evident reasons for wanting to buttonhole the guest of honour. The Liberals say they do this sort of advance screening ...

2)  I wanted an opportunity to buttonhole someone and show them a person who has been in pain every day.

3)  People could still buttonhole ministers to tell them their problems.

4)  ... work so they don't have access to the finicky pay system, can't buttonhole managers for help or advocate for themselves. 

5)  ... and a long line of ticket-buying attendees wait to buttonhole their MP about their favourite cause.

6)  But at the recent G20, Modi missed no opportunity to buttonhole Obama for a chat and managed to speak to him thrice. 

7)  It is important to change the narrative. People should buttonhole their local politician and shame them into voting against the best government money can buy.

8)  ... and the only explanation I got was from a bank official that I managed to buttonhole by the coffee station.

9)  Do you have one of those friends who likes to buttonhole you at social occasions to rave about the amazing TV they're watching?

10)  ... the first man I buttonhole looks like he will have something to say. He does.

11)  ... is putting together a strategy for an upcoming meeting to buttonhole provincial cabinet ministers about issues and interests important to county residents.

12)  ... birthday drinks on the weekend, but did the businessman buttonhole his host in a bid to secure more funding for his landmark education reforms?

13)  I managed to buttonhole her for a frank chat about her book and other matters.

14)  The committee's hearings were occasionally heated, with senators using the opportunity to buttonhole CBC executives on individual pet issues, forcing the committee chair to chastise members for ...

15)  ... extraordinarily high opinion of himself and a willingness to share this with whomsoever he could buttonhole at a party.

16)  We can't buttonhole individual companies about their gender pay gap from the WGEA information released today.

17)  ... the business representatives get briefings from ministers and shadows, and a chance to buttonhole people in the corridors.

18)  ... a national letter-writing campaign that was started in late October, calling on members to buttonhole their MPs and demand change.

19)  ... their prime minister and other leading government figures around town, and being able to buttonhole them to personally deliver views on a pet peeve. 

20)  Whenever I speak to audiences about my years in broadcasting, increasing numbers of people buttonhole me afterwards to tell of their unhappiness about what they get for their money.