adjective Informal.

ready to fire a gun at the least provocation, regardless of the situation or probable consequences: a trigger-happy hunter.
heedless and foolhardy in matters of great importance and recklessly advocating action that can result in war: Some called him a trigger-happy candidate.
eager to point out the mistakes or shortcomings of others; aggressively or wantonly critical: He's a trigger-happy editor with a nervous blue pencil.

Origin of trigger-happy

First recorded in 1940–45 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trigger-happy

Contemporary Examples of trigger-happy

Historical Examples of trigger-happy

  • The man in charge saw Gilgamesh on the alarm screens and got trigger-happy.

    The Lost Kafoozalum

    Pauline Ashwell

  • At least, he was reasonably sure that none of Klem Zareff's trigger-happy mercenaries would shoot him down coming in.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Suppose he broke surface right in front of a flock of trigger-happy Enforcers?

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole

  • However, a couple of trigger-happy vedettes let off their carbines at them, yelled, "The Rebs are coming!"

    Rebel Raider

    H. Beam Piper

  • Uncle John provided our hunting excitement by turning out to be one of the trigger-happy types.

    Inside John Barth

    William W. Stuart

British Dictionary definitions for trigger-happy


adjective informal

tending to resort to the use of firearms or violence irresponsibly
tending to act rashly or without due consideration
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