rip cord

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noun

a cord on a parachute that, when pulled, opens the parachute for descent.
a cord fastened in the bag of a passenger balloon or dirigible so that a sharp pull upon it will rip or open the bag and let the gas escape, causing the balloon to descend rapidly.

Origin of rip cord

First recorded in 1905–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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