[poo sh-buht-n]
  1. operated by or as if by push buttons: push-button tuning.
  2. using complex, automated weapons, as long-range missiles, that require only simple initial steps to put them into action: push-button warfare.

Origin of push-button

An Americanism dating back to 1875–80

push button

or push·but·ton

  1. a device designed to close or open an electric circuit when a button or knob is depressed, and to return to a normal position when it is released.
  2. the button or knob depressed.

Origin of push button

An Americanism dating back to 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for push-button

control, switch

Examples from the Web for push-button

Contemporary Examples of push-button

Historical Examples of push-button

  • Mr. Garwell touched a push-button on his desk, and a clerk appeared.

    From Farm to Fortune

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • Give the location of the electric bell, the electric generator and the push-button.


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • "Just you wait until I call the porter," said Roger, and touched the push-button.

  • "I see you have," Cappy cut in blandly, and pressed the push-button on his desk.

    The Go-Getter

    Peter B. Kyne

  • He sighed resignedly and pressed the push-button on his desk.

British Dictionary definitions for push-button

push button

  1. an electrical switch operated by pressing a button, which closes or opens a circuit
  2. push-button (modifier)
    1. operated by a push buttona push-button radio
    2. initiated as simply as by pressing a buttonpush-button warfare
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

Word Origin and History for push-button

"characterized by the use of push-buttons," 1945, originally of military systems, earlier "operated by push-buttons" (1903), from push-button (n.), 1865, from push (v.) + button (n.). Earlier was press-button (1892), from the noun (1879).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper