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[trig-er-hap-ee] /ˈtrɪg ərˌhæp i/
adjective, Informal.
ready to fire a gun at the least provocation, regardless of the situation or probable consequences:
a trigger-happy hunter.
heedless and foolhardy in matters of great importance and recklessly advocating action that can result in war:
Some called him a trigger-happy candidate.
eager to point out the mistakes or shortcomings of others; aggressively or wantonly critical:
He's a trigger-happy editor with a nervous blue pencil.
Origin of trigger-happy
First recorded in 1940-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trigger-happy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The man in charge saw Gilgamesh on the alarm screens and got trigger-happy.

    The Lost Kafoozalum Pauline Ashwell
  • At least, he was reasonably sure that none of Klem Zareff's trigger-happy mercenaries would shoot him down coming in.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • Suppose he broke surface right in front of a flock of trigger-happy Enforcers?

    The Best Made Plans Everett B. Cole
  • However, a couple of trigger-happy vedettes let off their carbines at them, yelled, "The Rebs are coming!"

    Rebel Raider H. Beam Piper
  • Uncle John provided our hunting excitement by turning out to be one of the trigger-happy types.

    Inside John Barth William W. Stuart
British Dictionary definitions for trigger-happy


adjective (informal)
tending to resort to the use of firearms or violence irresponsibly
tending to act rashly or without due consideration
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for trigger-happy



Irresponsible in the use of firearms; eager to fire a gun

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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