Does anyone know whether "batter" as in "batter up!" on a baseball field is a noun or a verb derived from a noun?

To test for its verbhood, you'd have to apply some verb-related tests. Can it have a tense ending attached to it, for example? But if "Batter up" is generally used as a command, then that test is not available.

If it is a noun, then can you provide other examples of the pattern Noun + up that are used as commands?

I've found some examples, such as

"it's time to batter up and play ball."
--from Google Books

"It’s time to batter up and make that homerun!"
--from a Realty One Group webpage

"...like Babe Ruth from a New York Yankees baseball match, we batter up and knock those curveballs right out of the park."
--from Google Books again

If this sort of sentence works, that'd be evidence for its verbhood.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • There are also tests for adjective-hood, preposition-hood, and even negative polarity, but before applying any such tests one would have to have sufficient motivation to believe the word might be an adjective or a preposition or a negative polarity item. Similarly for verb. I see zero reason to even suggest the batter in "batter up" who is a baseball player, a person, is a verb. Can you share your thought processes on why you think it may be a verb?
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 29, 2017 at 10:40
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    @terdon It is used to call a batter to bat. If you like trains, it's equivalent to all aboooooard.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 29, 2017 at 10:43
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    If you think the term is ambiguous, more context will help.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 29, 2017 at 10:46
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    Perhaps this could be clarified by translating the phrase to the game of cricket, in which it would be "Batsman up!". Batsman/batter is simply a noun referring to the player at bat. The whole thing is basically a set phrase that's short for "The next batter is up!". Jun 29, 2017 at 13:28
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    Oh! You're not a native speaker. And presumably not a baseball fan. That's why you don't have the mental image that makes it clear that it's a noun. The words mean a specific thing to native speakers and baseball fans, and that meaning is what I've described above; the mental symbol being manipulated is indeed the batter, a person. It's a noun.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 29, 2017 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


First, "batter" is a noun derived from a verb (bat, which in turn is a verb derived from the noun bat).

Second, the examples given don't seem to have been addressed previously. They all could be read as referring to a completely unrelated form of "batter", the dough you fry food in. By context, that's clearly not what's meant though. They are using "batter up" as a verbal phrase. But they do not make "batter" itself a verb.

"Batter" as a verb usually has a another completely different meaning (hit repeatedly). Again, by context not what is meant.


'Bat' started as a verb (Old French 'battre', to strike) {cf. 'beat', 'butt'}. It then auto-derived to a noun, to name the stick used for striking. This takes the suffix '-er' to make the noun 'batter', one who strikes. There is another noun 'batter', stuff that is stirred, that could conceivably be used as a verb {cf. "He buttered the bread."}, but that is the wrong context for baseball. "Batter up!" is an imperative, like "Heads up!", calling the next batter to the plate. The elided verb is 'be' {cf. "He is up"}.

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