"Button up your shirt"

What is the antonym of button up?

Is it button down?

Before taking off a shirt. We need to button ___.

3 Answers 3


To "button up" a shirt implies that you start from the bottom button and work your way up. You can just say "button your shirt" and leave to the listener to decide how they prefer to do it.

A button-down shirt is one with an extra button for the collar.

button-down shirt

This doesn't mean you start from the collar and work your way down (unless you want to). Rather the term "button-down" is likely short for "buttoned-down" meaning "securely fastened with a button".

The opposite of to button is, fortunately, to unbutton. Yes, it's one of those rare cases where English makes sense; however, you do not "unbutton down" a shirt. You just unbutton it.

  • Thanks. Your explanation is very clear and easy to understand.
    – e12345678
    Sep 24, 2017 at 0:23

You would say:

Unbutton your shirt.

The up in "Button (up) your shirt" can be optional, though.

A button-down shirt is a shirt that can be buttoned (up). It has nothing to do with the current state of buttoning activity.


It would be 'unbutton your shirt' this is the way that is used generally.

  • Please support your answer with more details.
    – Varun Nair
    Sep 22, 2017 at 8:51

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