- 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
Related Words for triggeringprompt, start, produce, spark, provoke, cause, generate, elicit, activate
Examples from the Web for triggering
Contemporary Examples of triggering
The ex-chef, accused by Maureen McDonnell of “embezzling” food from the mansion, went to the FBI, triggering its investigation.Tough-Guy Pols Let Wives Take the Fall, Maureen McDonnell Edition
August 26, 2014
But here, Joffrey's death instantly produced the opposite effect, reactivating old antagonisms and triggering new ones.Game of Thrones’ ‘The Lion and the Rose’: Joffrey’s Demented, Shocking Royal Wedding
April 14, 2014
The ensuing hysteria persuaded some parents not to inoculate their kids for fear of triggering autism.Twitter Crushes Anti-Vaccination Queen Jenny McCarthy
The Daily Beast
March 15, 2014
The head movements are capable of triggering a diverse range of “inputs” into a device.Apple Wants to Make Your Head Into an App
February 19, 2014
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, triggering a chain of events that leads to much greater debacles.Government Shuts Down and Private Sector Feels the Pain, Too
October 4, 2013
Historical Examples of triggering
The expectation of education or therapeutics gave way to triggering excitement, more obliquely sexual excitement.The Civilization of Illiteracy
Regulation of breeding schedules in birds always involves some exogenous, environmental timing or triggering mechanism.The Breeding Birds of Kansas
Richard F. Johnston
- 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)