push someone's buttons, to

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push someone's buttons

Also, press someone's buttons. Draw a strong emotional reaction from someone, especially anger or sexual arousal. For example, My mother-in-law really knew how to push my buttons, or A good-looking redhead, she always seemed to press his buttons. This metaphoric expression transfers activating some mechanism by pushing buttons to human emotions. [Slang; 1920s]
See also: button, push

push (or press) someone's buttons

be successful in arousing or provoking a reaction in someone. informal
See also: button, push

push someone's buttons, to

To draw a strong emotional response from someone, usually negative. The term originated in the first half of the 1900s and has become a cliché. For example, “I said some negative things about the current administration and that really pushed Mary’s buttons—she exploded.” See also rub the wrong way.
See also: push
References in periodicals archive ?
"These push button switches feature a robust design including gold-over-silver contacts for low-power applications or silver-plated contacts.
E-stop push buttons are a critical component for automation systems - they are used to cease motion to help prevent injury to workers or damage to machinery.
This article focuses on how to set up those convenient menus, demonstrating how to create an array of push buttons designed to do jobs such as opening forms and providing reports.
Operation is said to be easy and intuitive via well-defined push buttons and user-friendly screens presented on a flat LCD.
The 250 Series PCB terminal blocks have a pin spacing of 2.5mm to 7.5mm, plus integral push buttons that provide a quick and easy connection of conductors to the printed circuit boards.