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an itchy trigger finger
1. An inclination or readiness to shoot a gun (especially at someone) without needing much or any provocation or justification. I wouldn't stay too long around here—there are a lot of people with itchy trigger fingers in this part of town.
2. By extension, an inclination, readiness, or tendency to act or react carelessly, rashly, or without due consideration. John's itchy trigger finger is going to get him into trouble with his boss someday. When you're working in a restaurant, it's important not to have an itchy trigger finger when customers come to you with complaints.
pull the trigger (on something)
To make a final decision or commit to a certain course of action (about something). Jeff's been hemming and hawing about which car to buy—I wish he would just pull the trigger already! If we don't pull the trigger on this deal then we might never get the chance again.
1. noun Something that causes one psychological distress, typically because it reminds them of a past trauma. The graphic descriptions in that article were a trigger for me.
2. verb To cause psychological distress in someone, typically by reminding them of a past trauma. This article might be triggering for child abuse survivors.
A statement at the beginning of an article or video advising that its content might be upsetting, especially for trauma survivors. At least that graphic article came with a trigger warning.
quick on the triggerand quick on the draw
1. Lit. quick to draw a gun and shoot. Some of the old cowboys were known to be quick on the trigger. Wyatt Earp was particularly quick on the draw.
2. Fig. quick to respond to anything. John gets the right answer before anyone else. He's really quick on the trigger. Sally will probably win the quiz game. She's really quick on the draw.
trigger someone off
to cause someone to become angry. (Fig. on trigger something off.) Your rude comments triggered her off. Your comments triggered off Bob's temper.
trigger something off
to set something off, such as an explosion. We were afraid that the sparks from the engine would trigger an explosion off. The sparks triggered off an explosion.
quick on the draw
able to react quickly to a situation He was quick on the draw answering the reporter's questions.
Usage notes: sometimes said about a person who reacts too quickly to a situation and makes serious mistakes
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of quick on the draw (able to take out and shoot a gun quickly)
someone who is trigger-happy uses their gun too often and without thinking carefully The book's main character is a trigger-happy New York detective.
quick on the draw
Also, quick on the trigger. Rapid in acting or reacting, as in You have to be quick on the draw if you want to find low-rent housing here, or Bruce was quick on the trigger when it came to answering questions. The first expression came from the American West's gunslingers and was broadened to mean "a quick reaction" in the first half of the 1900s. The variant originated about 1800.
Inclined to act violently at the slightest provocation, as in They feared that the President was trigger happy and would send in troops at the drop of a hat . This expression alludes to being too eager to fire a gun. [c. 1940]
1. n. a hired gunman. (Underworld.) Get your triggers outa here—then we can talk.
2. tv. to start something; to set something off. The noise triggered an avalanche.
mod. eager to fire a gun; eager to shoot someone or something. Rocko is sort of trigger-happy. Watch out.