Definition of press (or push or hit) the panic button in English:

press (or push or hit) the panic button

phrase

informal
  • Respond to a situation by panicking or taking emergency measures.

    ‘the very thought of reaching 50 makes me want to press the panic button’
    • ‘Moscow, while not publicly pressing the panic button, has reasons to be worried.’
    • ‘Rather, they always seem to push the panic button of people who believe in esprit de corps more than they believe in the supremacy of the truth.’
    • ‘Panic buys have been replaced by pressing the panic button and jettisoning the guy in charge of the team.’
    • ‘Paying too much should never happen if people research their market and approach buying with their emotions turned down, their panic button switched off and their scepticism antennae on high alert.’
    • ‘Our central bankers responded by hitting the panic button, provoking an abrupt and dramatic change in market perceptions.’
    • ‘Instead, he was forced to push the panic button with his team trailing 2-0.’
    • ‘As their science comes increasingly into question, the ‘Greenhouse’ advocates just push the panic button harder.’
    • ‘However, no matter how serious or complicated a new situation may appear, it's pointless to press the panic button.’
    • ‘We are mindful of that but it is not a situation where we think it necessary to press the panic button.’
    • ‘That's four matches without a win for the Dublin club, but manager, Pete Mahon refuses to push the panic button.’
    get upset over nothing, react disproportionately, get overexcited, go too far, act irrationally, lose one's sense of proportion, exaggerate, make something out of nothing, make a mountain out of a molehill, blow something up out of all proportion
    View synonyms