noun trig·ger \ˈtri-gər\

: a lever on a gun that you pull to fire the gun

: something that causes something else to happen

Full Definition of TRIGGER

a :  a piece (as a lever) connected with a catch or detent as a means of releasing it; especially :  the part of the action moved by the finger to fire a gun
b :  a similar movable part by which a mechanism is actuated <trigger of a spray gun>
:  something that acts like a mechanical trigger in initiating a process or reaction
trigger adjective
trig·gered \-gərd\ adjective

Origin of TRIGGER

alteration of earlier tricker, from Dutch trekker, from Middle Dutch trecker one that pulls, from trecken to pull — more at trek
First Known Use: 1621

Other Weapons and Explosives Terms

automatic, carbine, cudgel, muzzle, rapier

Rhymes with TRIGGER



: to cause (something, such as an alarm) to start functioning

: to cause (a bomb) to explode

: to cause (something) to start or happen

trig·geredtrig·ger·ing \ˈtri-g(ə-)riŋ\

Full Definition of TRIGGER

transitive verb
a :  to release or activate by means of a trigger; especially :  to fire by pulling a mechanical trigger <trigger a rifle>
b :  to cause the explosion of <trigger a missile with a proximity fuse>
:  to initiate, actuate, or set off by a trigger <an indiscreet remark that triggered a fight> <a stimulus that triggered a reflex>
intransitive verb
:  to release a mechanical trigger

Examples of TRIGGER

  1. Smoke triggered the fire alarm.
  2. The timer was set to trigger the bomb in exactly one hour.
  3. His remarks triggered a public outcry.
  4. Certain foods trigger his headaches.
  5. The power outage was triggered by heavy rains.

First Known Use of TRIGGER

TRIGGERING Defined for Kids


noun trig·ger \ˈtri-gər\

Definition of TRIGGER for Kids

:  the part of the lock of a gun that is pressed to release the hammer so that it will fire


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