push the panic button(redirected from they push the panic button)
push 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 push the panic button every time your company has a minor setback. New parents tend to push the panic button over every little sniffle their first baby gets. You learn to chill out when you have more kids.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
push the panic button
Also, press the panic button. Overreact to a situation, as in Don't worry; Jane is always pushing the panic button, but I'm sure the baby's fine. This term originated during World War II, when certain bombers had a bell-warning system so that the crew could bail out if the plane was severely hit. Occasionally a pilot would push the button in error, when there was only minor damage, causing the crew to bail out unnecessarily. By 1950 the expression had been transferred to other kinds of overreaction.
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.
press/push the ˈpanic button(British English) react in a sudden or an extreme way to something unexpected that has frightened you: Although the team lost yet another match on Saturday, their manager is refusing to press the panic button.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
push the panic buttonverb
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
push the panic button, to
To overreact to a supposed emergency. This term originated during World War II, when B-17 and B-24 bombers had a bell-warning system so that the crew could bail out when the plane was badly hit. Occasionally this button would be pushed by mistake and the crew would bail out unnecessarily, even though the plane was virtually undamaged. By extension, the term came to mean acting in needless haste. In the 1950s it gained currency—and a more sinister meaning—when it also referred to releasing a nuclear warhead by pushing a button.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer