- a small projecting tongue in a firearm that, when pressed by the finger, actuates the mechanism that discharges the weapon.
- a device, as a lever, the pulling or pressing of which releases a detent or spring.
- anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.
- Slang. triggerman.
- to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.): Their small protest triggered a mass demonstration.
- to fire or explode (a gun, missile, etc.) by pulling a trigger or releasing a triggering device: He accidentally triggered his rifle.
- to release a trigger.
- to become active; activate.
- quick on the trigger, Informal. quick to act or respond; impetuous; alert.
Origin of trigger
Examples from the Web for trigger
Contemporary Examples of trigger
People felt that crossed all lines, and then it became a story, so there are tipping points that trigger a public response.Laura Poitras on Snowden's Unrevealed Secrets
December 1, 2014
I was the one to trigger the detonator, and for that I take full responsibility.Hell Hath No Fury Like Valerie Trierweiler, the French President’s Ex
November 28, 2014
Even private institutions, which most likely have less bureaucratic hurdles to deal with, have been slow to pull the trigger.Millions Promised for Ebola Not Adding Up
November 25, 2014
But witnesses say Muataz definitely was the shooter, and he even went so far as to apologize to Glick before pulling the trigger.In Jerusalem Home Demolitions, the Biblical Justice of Revenge
November 25, 2014
But this Pavlovian trigger cannot be effective indefinitely.The Nuclear Deal That Iran’s Regime Fears Most
November 22, 2014
Historical Examples of trigger
Had his fist in my face before I could get my finger on the trigger.Way of the Lawless
He had missed, and when the sergeant was ready to pull the trigger also Slade was gone.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
He pressed the trigger at just the right time as the buck was rising in the air.With Trapper Jim in the North Woods
Lawrence J. Leslie
But he did not shoot, though one could see how his fingers must itch for the feel of the trigger.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
Put up your sword, for the trigger falls easy, and my finger is a twitching.'Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- a small projecting lever that activates the firing mechanism of a firearm
- machinery a device that releases a spring-loaded mechanism or a similar arrangement
- any event that sets a course of action in motion
- (usually foll by off) to give rise (to); set off
- to fire or set in motion by or as by pulling a trigger
Word Origin for trigger
1650s, earlier tricker (1620s), from Dutch trekker "trigger," from trekken "to pull" (see trek). Tricker was the usual form in English until c.1750. Trigger-happy is attested from 1943.
1930, from trigger (n.). Related: Triggered; triggering.
In addition to the idiom beginning with trigger
- trigger happy
- quick on the draw (trigger)