trigger

[trig-er]
See more synonyms for trigger on Thesaurus.com
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.
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.
verb (used without object)
  1. to release a trigger.
  2. to become active; activate.
Idioms
  1. quick on the trigger, Informal. quick to act or respond; impetuous; alert.

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

Related Words for triggering

prompt, start, produce, spark, provoke, cause, generate, elicit, activate

Examples from the Web for triggering

Contemporary Examples of triggering

Historical Examples of triggering

  • The expectation of education or therapeutics gave way to triggering excitement, more obliquely sexual excitement.

  • Regulation of breeding schedules in birds always involves some exogenous, environmental timing or triggering mechanism.

    The Breeding Birds of Kansas

    Richard F. Johnston


British Dictionary definitions for triggering

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
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
Derived Formstriggered, adjectivetriggerless, adjective

Word Origin for trigger

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 triggering

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.

trigger

v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with triggering

trigger

In addition to the idiom beginning with trigger

  • trigger happy

also see:

  • quick on the draw (trigger)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.