Definition of trigger in US English:

trigger

noun

  • 1A small device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism, especially in order to fire a gun.

    ‘he pulled the trigger of the shotgun’
    • ‘Taking vigilant aim she pulled the hammer back seized the trigger and fired.’
    • ‘Bullets impacted the floor around me as I pulled the trigger and fired back.’
    • ‘He wrestled his finger free from the trigger and turned to fire again.’
    • ‘There is a manual trigger block safety catch located on the left/rear of the frame.’
    • ‘Now he just had to pull the trigger to launch the missile.’
    • ‘The pan cover either slid open automatically upon the trigger being pulled or had to be slid open manually first.’
    • ‘Colt's answer was a design that prevents the pistol from firing unless the trigger is depressed.’
    • ‘The teacher sighed and quickly pulled the trigger of the shotgun as an explosive noise ran to all directions.’
    • ‘Press the trigger to fire, and the missile is on its way, its own IR seeker taking over.’
    • ‘Before you pull the trigger, be absolutely sure of your target and what's behind it.’
    • ‘When released by the gun's mechanical triggers, the coil spring strikers trip a rocker that impacts the firing pin.’
    • ‘Your finger may straighten with a snap - like a trigger being pulled and released.’
    • ‘Both eyes wide open I fumbled for the trigger and fired off three shots.’
    • ‘Many handbow archers use sights, and latches with triggers called mechanical releases.’
    • ‘Don't pull the trigger when the safety is engaged or positioned anywhere between safe and fire.’
    • ‘As you said, it's perhaps a trigger for a nuclear device and for a dirty bomb as well.’
    • ‘As he moved to pull the trigger I caught a flash of movement behind him.’
    • ‘The starter nodded, plugged his ear and pulled the trigger on the shotgun.’
    • ‘He chuckled and pulled the trigger, firing at the targets even though he wasn't in the booths.’
    • ‘A trick here is to release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid excess caulk oozing out.’
    1. 1.1 An event or circumstance that is the cause of a particular action, process, or situation.
      ‘the trigger for the strike was the closure of a mine’
      • ‘If certain events are identified as triggers, it may be easier to deal with the stress of them.’
      • ‘Imagining the ridiculous trigger for the situation, Mallory shook her head in bewilderment.’
      • ‘There is still much speculation concerning initiating triggers.’
      • ‘Event triggers and in-game cinematics will then guide you although you will determine how a mission will be accomplished.’
      • ‘It has also codified a number of issues such as retrenchment and dismissal which were previously major strike triggers.’
      • ‘Plus, there aren't any triggers or events in the scenarios, and so the only thing that makes them play differently is the map they take place on, but the maps are a joke.’
      • ‘The election was probably the trigger for the latest wave of terror attacks.’
      • ‘Anger triggers are situations in which expectations of fair play are violated.’
      • ‘Your child's triggers will determine what steps you need to take to prevent asthma flare-ups where you're staying.’
      • ‘Other triggers include bright lights, stressful situations, and other illnesses such as a cold or stomach bug.’
      • ‘People search endlessly for a psychological trigger, for a cause, but it can be unhelpful because often there isn't one.’
      • ‘If you know exactly what sets you off, you can be mindful of it and remind yourself of the best ways to react in a trigger situation.’
      • ‘Repeatedly low readings in a certain situation may indicate the trigger.’
      • ‘There is a great deal of debate surrounding the causes or triggers of trichotillomania, complicated by its heterogeneity.’
      • ‘Elements such as the circle also contain their own event triggers to tie scripts to the elements.’
      • ‘This was intended to be a constructive process, not a trigger for criticism, blame, or ill considered actions.’
      • ‘All these triggers may also cause a relapse in a patient recovering from ME.’
      • ‘The answers to these questions will help you identify some of the reasons for the decision you made, to help you identify triggers, or situations that may be difficult for you.’
      • ‘Environmental situations, some chemicals and foods, and a host of other situations are patient-specific triggers.’
      • ‘The event acts as a trigger or catalyst, which catapults them into an awareness of this phenomena.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.

    ‘an allergy can be triggered by stress or overwork’
    • ‘The exact cause of psoriasis is not known but it is understood that stress can trigger an outbreak.’
    • ‘Time is inconsequential here and events are triggered by elements of nature.’
    • ‘Observers in Ecuador saw the message as a strong hint that triggered the following events.’
    • ‘Very often a death in the family or the breakdown of a marriage triggers the violent outbursts and the dramatic changes in personality.’
    • ‘What specific work of the law triggered this situation is not entirely clear.’
    • ‘You can reduce the itching, inflammation, and scaling of psoriasis by reducing stress; high stress often triggers outbreaks.’
    • ‘The further out on the spectrum of this array, the longer a sequence of events is triggered.’
    • ‘What triggers off this process is not fully understood.’
    • ‘In many parts of the basin, snow stays on the ground for over half the year, and snowmelt usually triggers major high-flow events.’
    • ‘Similarly, real downstream demand, not forecasts, triggers production and procurement processes.’
    • ‘In my experience it takes much more than one solar arc progression to trigger events in a natal chart.’
    • ‘Pinch wounding disrupts the epidermis but not the overlying cuticle and triggers only the events shown in black.’
    • ‘She never had heartburn and did not recall triggering events or abnormalities prior to the onset of her symptoms.’
    • ‘That picture triggered a national scandal, not to mention an emotional shock wave that threw his life off course.’
    • ‘The leaf is modified to form two moving lobes that will close on prey when the trap is triggered via touch-sensitive trichomes.’
    • ‘Here again, the emblem suggests a chain of catastrophic, unspeakable events triggered by irresistible emotions.’
    • ‘Remember, you have to talk to every single one in order to trigger the event.’
    • ‘With the prospect of the tragedy triggering a global recession companies lined up in droves to issue profits warnings and swing the axe.’
    • ‘With the Internet, an explosion in the demand for home computers was triggered.’
    • ‘In her opinion, instability in relationships and separations are not triggering events.’
    precipitate, prompt, trigger off, set off, spark, spark off, touch off, stimulate, provoke, stir up, fan the flames of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Cause (a device) to function.
      • ‘But each machine requires a high-precision electronic switch that has a second use: it triggers atomic bombs.’
      • ‘The coin was put in the slot that used to trigger the fountain and the last person shot out to the centre of the lake.’
      • ‘Each time soap was dispensed, the device was triggered to record one count.’
      • ‘Each machine contains a high-precision electronic switch which triggers atomic bombs.’
      • ‘When the freezer door closed behind him, immediately triggering the refrigeration fan, Mr Stark thought someone was playing a joke.’
      • ‘The cable transmits radio waves so when a trolley passes over this boundary a signal is sent via a central transmitter to a receiver on the trolley which triggers a bolt to lock.’
      • ‘An alarm is triggered if the device is separated from the tag.’
      • ‘Electronic switches were triggered and the nearest figure moved towards you.’
      • ‘These battery-operated devices detect movements that can easily be used to trigger a camera.’
      • ‘With the bills inside the strongbox is an incendiary device triggered by the quantum decay of Cobalt 60.’
      • ‘Then Dr Salmon triggered a mechanism, which unfurled the umbrellas like a flower and anchored them either side of the hole in the heart.’
      • ‘A security tag is a small electronic device that triggers an alarm if the product is smuggled outside the showroom.’
      • ‘The concept of the device is to activate a remote sensor that will trigger the device on the vehicle that will bring it to a stop.’
      • ‘Police believe the bomb was triggered by remote control when a truck carrying security officials arrived.’
      • ‘Both soldiers simultaneously removed their last stick grenades and triggered the fuses.’
      • ‘This operative then either alerts the triggerman or triggers the device himself when a convoy approaches.’
      • ‘McCulloch prised off the door panel, triggered the first device and was shot in the arm.’
      • ‘When the sensor is triggered, compressed air rapidly fills the air bags before the user hits the ground and reduces or prevents injury.’
      • ‘If the photon passes through the mirror, it automatically triggers a light-sensing device, which fires the gun and shoots the cat dead.’
      • ‘When your baby wets, it activates the sensor which triggers flashing lights and an alarm.’
      activate, set off, set going, trip
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object and infinitive (of an event or situation) cause (someone) to do something.
      ‘the death of Helen's father triggered her to follow a childhood dream and become a falconer’
    3. 1.3 (especially of something read, seen, or heard) distress (someone), typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
      ‘she started crying and told me that my news had really triggered her’
      ‘people ask how much I weigh but I won't talk about numbers because I know that triggers me’

Phrases

  • quick on the trigger

    • Quick to respond.

      • ‘He's brash, quick on the trigger, and careless, but his character is slowly (slow to the extent of never happening) becoming mature, joining his action with reason.’
      • ‘Apparently they want us to take as many prisoners as possible though, so don't be too quick on the trigger.’
      • ‘Rommel was quick on the trigger, attacking all openings with well balanced strikes that could easily deter any simple man or woman.’
      • ‘Gigot acknowledges that many charge that Bartley was too quick on the trigger, that he didn't always wait to ask the questions before he shot.’
      • ‘Well, as everyone says, she was so funny and so quick and so quick on the trigger, quick on the uptake and so forth.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from dialect tricker, from Dutch trekker, from trekken ‘to pull’.

Pronunciation

trigger

/ˈtriɡər//ˈtrɪɡər/