Definition of press the button in English:

press the button

phrase

informal
  • Initiate an action or train of events (often used to refer to the ease with which a nuclear war might be started).

    • ‘The first was to launch military action immediately against Yugoslavia; the other was to talk: and no one was yet ready to press the button.’
    • ‘What happens after a chief executive presses the button to start trading at Nasdaq, has his faced flashed above Times Square and does a half-dozen interviews?’
    • ‘It is awaiting the passage of a bill through parliament to allow it to press the button on the first phase of the £714m project.’
    • ‘If in 1974 Nixon had pressed the button then there would have been a nuclear holocaust.’
    • ‘As the 11-2 chance cruised up to the leaders in the straight, he sat as still as a mouse and it was not until the final furlong that he began to press the button.’
    • ‘They don't have to deal with, argue about, or work within the realities of the conflict - they can just turn up, find their target, and press the button.’
    • ‘It's that old familiar ‘life on hold’ stage of the game, when there are no projects under way, everything is waiting to be packed when the solicitor presses the button and in the meantime all we can do is sit quietly, not make a mess, and wait.’
    • ‘I have the latest volume on my wish list but I rather suspect I'll be pressing the button and buying it myself next pay-day.’
    • ‘For these two reasons, mobilization was almost equivalent to pressing the button in the age of the nuclear deterrent, or to reaching for the personal deterrent in the age of the cowboy.’
    • ‘About 12.45, I press the button on 26 years of trying to help the Party.’