panic button


Definition of panic button 

: something setting off a precipitous emergency response there was no pushing of panic buttons at the White House, no rushing of troops— J. C. Harsch

Examples of panic button in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Measures taken by schools in metro Detroit include: Farmington Public Schools has installed panic buttons in main offices. Detroit Free Press, "Florida shooting: How Mich. schools boost security to prevent tragedy," 15 Feb. 2018 Garcia crawled into the kitchen to press the panic button on his home security system. Steve Burns, ajc, "VIDEO: Armed intruder forces man into home during robbery," 16 May 2018 The news marks the second time that the distribution of panic buttons for hotel workers has made headlines this week. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Las Vegas' MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment workers to be given panic buttons," 7 July 2018 The system is designed to thwart an active shooter by using cameras with a direct feed to the county sheriff's office, panic buttons for teachers and smoke cannons in hallways. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "We don’t know how safe Indiana schools are. Here’s why.," 10 June 2018 Oh, so no need to hit the panic button, right, for the Democrats? Fox News, "President Trump faces pivotal days at home and overseas," 6 July 2018 No one is pressing the panic button yet, but there’s a sense of urgency heading into the club’s next match at home. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City coach Jason Kreis confident club can avoid another slump," 23 May 2018 The app also features an SOS or panic button to report extreme emergencies such as an active shooter or hostage situation where users are unable to provide details of the incident. Kim Chatelain,, "Alabama evangelist arrested on child sex charges: report," 11 Apr. 2018 The town is also planning to upgrade the security cameras and panic buttons at the Bel Air Armory on Main Street and at the public works building on Route 22. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Bel Air approves contracts for parking garage striping, Armory security upgrades," 22 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of panic button

1948, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for panic button

The first known use of panic button was in 1948

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More Definitions for panic button

panic button


English Language Learners Definition of panic button

: a button in a bank, store, etc., that a person can press to call for help during an emergency (such as a robbery)

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Comments on panic button

What made you want to look up panic button? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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