Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
press (one's) luck
To risk losing the good favor or fortune one has garnered thus far by brashly or overconfidently seeking more. I know you're in the boss's good graces now, but don't press your luck: she's been known to turn on people for getting too cocky. I've had some good winnings at blackjack, but I don't think I should press my luck any further.
press the panic button
To overreact to a negative situation with an inordinate amount of fear, alarm, or confusion. If you're going to be a successful boss, you can't press the panic button every time your company has a minor setback. New parents tend to press the panic button over every little sniffle their first baby gets.
press (someone's) buttons
1. To do things that create a very strong emotional reaction in someone, especially anger, irritation, or exasperation. I hate Dave's new boyfriend—he's always trying to press my buttons, and he's doing a good job of it! No one will be able to press your buttons like your children, but it's all a part of the adventure of parenthood.
2. To be sexually attractive or arousing to someone. Did you see that waitress over at the other table? Man, she presses my buttons.
press the flesh
To meet, talk to, and shake hands with many different people. (Used especially in reference to a politician running for office.) There's no way you'll win the election if you aren't out pressing the flesh among your constituents.
press the button
1. To initiate a war with another country, especially at a nuclear level. Many fear that the recent decision to restrict the country's access to foreign oil and other imports may drive their leader to press the button.
2. By extension, to initiate or instigate something. After debating it with myself for nearly a year, I decided to press the button and start my own company.
press the flesh
Shake hands and mingle with people, especially when running for public office. For example, The candidate went through the crowd, pressing the flesh. [1920s]
press the fleshJOURNALISM
COMMON To press the flesh means to talk to people in a crowd and shake their hands. She was out and about all over Galway, pressing the flesh. Note: This expression is often used about politicians, who do this when they are trying to get elected.
press the buttoninitiate an action or train of events. informal
During the cold war period, this expression was often used with reference to the possible action of the US or Soviet presidents in starting a nuclear war.
press (or push or hit) the panic buttonrespond to a situation by panicking or taking emergency measures. informal
A panic button is a security device which can be used to raise the alarm in an emergency.
press the panic buttonverb
press (the) flesh
tv. to shake hands. (see also flesh-presser.) He wanted to press the flesh, but I refused even to touch him.
press the fleshInformal
To shake hands and mingle with many people, especially while campaigning for public office.