BATON (Fr. bâton, baston, from Late Lat. basto, a stick or staff), the truncheon carried by a field marshal as a sign of authority, by a police constable, etc.; in music, the stick with which the conductor of an orchestra beats time; in heraldry, the fourth part of a bend, frequently broken off short at the ends so as to be shaped like a rod; in English coats of arms, only as a mark of illegitimacy, the "baton sinister."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)