hair-trig·​ger | \ ˈher-ˌtri-gər How to pronounce hair-trigger (audio) \

Definition of hair-trigger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : immediately responsive to the slightest stimulus a hair-trigger temper
2 : delicately adjusted or easily disrupted

hair trigger


Definition of hair trigger (Entry 2 of 2)

: a gun trigger so adjusted as to permit the firearm to be fired by a very slight pressure

Examples of hair-trigger in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun He is charged with illuminating the line between right and wrong at a time when war seems but a hair trigger from peace, when the ways to kill grow ever more sophisticated, when the consequences stream round the world instantaneously. Mary Beth Mccauley, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 May 2022 Long-term stress can mean our fight-or-flight response does its thing on a hair trigger. Eleanor Morgan,, 12 Nov. 2021 All these moves would make the world safer and might also dissuade China, which does not have its missiles on a hair trigger, from adopting that policy. The Editors, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2017 His letters to the editor, fired on a hair trigger, left a trail of gun smoke. Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2021 But try telling that to Washington politicians who are on hair trigger alert for any development that might define the early months of a new administration. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 10 May 2021 Many experts have urged Biden to reform the launch system, perhaps requiring two or more people to authorize nuclear weapons use, or taking the whole system off a hair trigger altogether. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 20 Jan. 2021 The speed and number of people involved in the destruction showed Minneapolis remains on a hair trigger nearly three months after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on Memorial Day. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, 27 Aug. 2020 So far there’s been no launch, but the strange shooting death this weekend of a South Korean official who might have been looking to enter the North by boat nonetheless highlights the hair trigger on which the Peninsula still rests. John Bolton, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hair-trigger.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hair-trigger


1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1802, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for hair-trigger

Time Traveler

The first known use of hair-trigger was in 1802

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hair trigger

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Cite this Entry

“Hair-trigger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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