verb (tr, adverb)
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Words nearby touch off
Idioms and Phrases with touch off
Cause to explode or fire; also, initiate, trigger. For example, The boys touched off a whole line of firecrackers, or These disclosures will touch off a public uproar. This idiom comes from early firearms, which were set off by putting a light to the touch-hole. Its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
Depict very precisely, as in He touched off Teddy Roosevelt as well as it's ever been done. [Mid-1700s]