trigger(redirected from a trigger)
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.
quick on the draw
1. Literally, very quick at drawing one's gun in readiness to shoot it. The gunfighter was so quick on the draw that he often shot his enemies before they reached their own gun.
2. By extension, understanding, anticipating, or reacting to a given situation or circumstance very quickly. You have to be quick on the draw if you want to get ahead in the world of business. Faced with criticism by environmentalists, the company's PR rep was quick on the draw and pointed out its important role in job creation for the local community. John is quick on the draw to defend himself when criticized.
quick on the trigger
1. Literally, very quick at drawing one's gun in readiness to shoot it. The gunfighter was so quick on the trigger that he often shot his enemies before they reached their own gun.
2. By extension, understanding, anticipating, or reacting to a given situation or circumstance very quickly. You have to be quick on the trigger if you want to get ahead in the world of business. Faced with criticism by environmentalists, the company's PR rep was quick on the trigger and pointed out its important role in job creation for the local community. John is quick on the trigger to defend himself when criticized.
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.
1. To cause some explosive device to detonate. A noun or pronoun can be used between "trigger" and "off." The jet drops the bombs from above and then triggers them off remotely. The construction activity triggered off a landmine that had been buried since the second World War.
2. To cause some severe or extreme event, condition, or situation to begin or occur. A noun or pronoun can be used between "trigger" and "off." The results of the election triggered off nationwide protests. Doctors still aren't sure what caused my collapse, but they think that it was probably stress that triggered it off.
3. To cause someone to become angry or irritated. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "trigger" and "off." I still don't know what exactly triggered Tom off, but he's been in a foul mood ever since. Our mother was prone to angry outbursts, so we always had to be careful not to trigger her off.
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.
1. Eager to use a weapon, i.e. to pull the trigger (of a gun). I know you're trigger-happy, but quit shooting or you'll scare off all the animals!
2. Having a tendency to do something or engage in or begin some activity with even the smallest level of enticement or provocation. Whenever I'm editing, I always get a little trigger-happy with the delete key and end up having to add some things back later. Don't pass to Rick. He's trigger-happy and shoots every time he gets the ball.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
If someone is trigger happy, they are too willing to use a gun. The firing continued throughout the night, trigger happy soldiers making sleep impossible.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
quick on the drawvery fast in acting or reacting.
The draw is the action of taking a pistol or other weapon from its holster.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
quick on the draw/trigger
Fast to act or react. The term comes from the gunslingers of the American West and was transferred to other kinds of quick reaction in the first half of the twentieth century. The literal meaning of quick on the trigger is a century older, appearing in a letter of 1808: “I trust that all your Aids will be quick on the trigger” (M. L. Weems, in E. E. F. Skeel, M. L. Weems: Works and Ways).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer