[poo sh-buht-n]


operated by or as if by push buttons: push-button tuning.
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


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.
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. 2019

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


an electrical switch operated by pressing a button, which closes or opens a circuit
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