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Related to battening: batten down

bat·ten 1

v. bat·tened, bat·ten·ing, bat·tens
1. To become fat.
2. To thrive and prosper, especially at another's expense: "[She] battens like a leech on the lives of famous people, ... a professional retailer of falsehoods" (George F. Will).
To fatten; overfeed.

[Ultimately from Old Norse batna, to improve; see bhad- in Indo-European roots.]

bat·ten 2

1. Nautical
a. One of several flexible strips of wood or plastic placed in pockets at the outer edge of a sail to keep it flat.
b. A narrow strip of wood used to fasten down the edges of the material that covers hatches in foul weather.
2. A narrow strip of wood used in construction, especially to cover a seam between boards, as flooring material, or as a lath.
a. The heavy swinging bar on a loom that holds the reed and is pulled forward to pack down the weft.
b. A flat stick used in weaving by hand to separate the upper and lower threads of the warp and to tighten the weft.
tr.v. bat·tened, bat·ten·ing, bat·tens
Nautical To furnish, fasten, or secure with battens: battened down the hatch during the storm.
batten down the hatches
To prepare for an imminent disaster or emergency.

[Alteration of Middle English batent, finished board or bar of wood, from Old French batant, wooden strip, clapper, from present participle of batre, to beat; see batter1. Noun, sense 3a and b, from French batant, from Old French.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
There is no greater devil unhung in a general way, battening as he does upon human agony and flesh in the shape of slaves.