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trigger

[trig-er]
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noun
  1. a small projecting tongue in a firearm that, when pressed by the finger, actuates the mechanism that discharges the weapon.
  2. a device, as a lever, the pulling or pressing of which releases a detent or spring.
  3. anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.
  4. Slang. triggerman.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.): Their small protest triggered a mass demonstration.
  2. to fire or explode (a gun, missile, etc.) by pulling a trigger or releasing a triggering device: He accidentally triggered his rifle.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to release a trigger.
  2. to become active; activate.
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Idioms
  1. quick on the trigger, Informal. quick to act or respond; impetuous; alert.
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Origin of trigger

1615–25; earlier tricker < Dutch trekker, equivalent to trekk(en) to pull + -er -er1
Related formsun·trig·gered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for triggered

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Joe Chessman took his heavy gun from its holster and triggered it twice.

    Adaptation

    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • The inner airlock door in the orbit-ship was triggered to a fuse.

    Gold in the Sky

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • Perhaps it was just the sound of the word in his head that triggered off the sudden panic.

    Captives of the Flame

    Samuel R. Delany

  • The associations had triggered the wrong words into existence.

    Forget Me Nearly

    Floyd L. Wallace

  • With you helping, we can isolate the thing that triggered you out of this.

    All Day Wednesday

    Richard Olin


British Dictionary definitions for triggered

trigger

noun
  1. a small projecting lever that activates the firing mechanism of a firearm
  2. machinery a device that releases a spring-loaded mechanism or a similar arrangement
  3. any event that sets a course of action in motion
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verb (tr)
  1. (usually foll by off) to give rise (to); set off
  2. to fire or set in motion by or as by pulling a trigger
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Derived Formstriggered, adjectivetriggerless, adjective

Word Origin

C17 tricker, from Dutch trekker, from trekken to pull; see trek
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 triggered

trigger

n.

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.

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trigger

v.

1930, from trigger (n.). Related: Triggered; triggering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with triggered

trigger

In addition to the idiom beginning with trigger

also see:

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.