1. A clasp for fastening two ends, as of straps or a belt, in which a device attached to one of the ends is fitted or coupled to the other.
2. An ornament that resembles this clasp, such as a metal square on a shoe or hat.
3. An instance of bending, warping, or crumpling; a bend or bulge.
v. buck·led, buck·ling, buck·les
1. To fasten with a buckle.
2. To cause to bend, warp, or crumple.
1. To become fastened with a buckle.
2. To bend, warp, or crumple, as under pressure or heat.
3. To give way; collapse: My knees buckled with fear.
4. To succumb, as to exhaustion or authority; give in: finally buckled under the excessive demands of the job.
To apply oneself with determination.
To use a safety belt, especially in an automobile.
[Middle English bokel, from Old French boucle, from Latin buccula, cheek strap of a helmet, diminutive of bucca, cheek.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.