trigger

noun
trig·​ger | \ ˈtri-gər How to pronounce trigger (audio) \

Definition of trigger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a piece (such 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
2 : something that acts like a mechanical trigger in initiating a process or reaction

trigger

verb
triggered; triggering\ ˈtri-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce triggering (audio) \

Definition of trigger (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : 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
2 : to initiate, actuate, or set off by a trigger an indiscreet remark that triggered a fight a stimulus that triggered a reflex
3 : to cause an intense and usually negative emotional reaction in (someone) Water had a way of triggering my brother and making ordinary, everyday weather take a frightening turn for the worse.— Ingrid Law

intransitive verb

: to release a mechanical trigger

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Other Words from trigger

Noun

triggered \ ˈtri-​gərd How to pronounce triggered (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for trigger

Synonyms: Verb

activate, actuate, crank (up), drive, move, run, set off, spark, start, touch off, turn on

Antonyms: Verb

cut, cut out, deactivate, kill, shut off, turn off

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Examples of trigger in a Sentence

Verb

Smoke triggered the fire alarm. The timer was set to trigger the bomb in exactly one hour. His remarks triggered a public outcry. Certain foods trigger his headaches. The power outage was triggered by heavy rains.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Selena is now undergoing dialectic behavior therapy in order to learn to cope with her triggers. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber Seen Looking Distraught After News of Selena Gomez’s Emotional Breakdown," 12 Oct. 2018 The trigger doesn't have to be major: anxiety can come about as a result of mounting stress, plain and simple. Caroline Foran, Glamour, "No, You Don’t Have to ‘Justify’ Your Anxiety," 27 Mar. 2019 Lawmakers can tap both funds during a downturn, subject to specific economic triggers and voting requirements. Hillary Borrud, OregonLive.com, "Oregon lawmakers weigh odds of a recession, as reserves grow," 26 May 2018 In sepsis, the chemicals your body releases into the bloodstream to fight off an infection trigger a response that can damage your organs and dangerously lower blood pressure — sometimes, fatally. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Meghan McCain LOST It After Whoopi Goldberg Returned to Give a Health Update," 14 Mar. 2019 People can also sneeze in reaction to non-nose triggers. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 Many triggers of abdominal pain are situational, James Marion, M.D., a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, tells SELF. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "How to Know If Your Abdominal Pain Is Physical or Mental," 16 Feb. 2019 Before pulling the trigger on a big online home-furnishing purchase: measure. Allison Duncan, WSJ, "The Expert’s Guide to Scoring Décor Deals Online," 14 Feb. 2019 While confirmation bias is usually invisible to us in the moment, its physiological triggers are more detectable. Liv Boeree, Vox, "How an 18th-century priest gave us the tools to make better decisions," 30 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The only hitch is that the Bad Place purposefully selected participants that would trigger the worst qualities in Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason, including a gossip columnist named John who tormented Tahani, as well as Chidi's ex, Simone. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Season 4 of 'The Good Place' Sounds Like It Will Be the Most Righteous One Yet," 3 May 2019 Barrick is seeking to shed a number of noncore mining properties and any combination with Newmont would likely trigger a fresh wave of gold property sales. Jacquie Mcnish, WSJ, "Barrick Gold Is Considering Possible Deal With Newmont," 22 Feb. 2019 Like many hibernating insects, overwintering mosquitoes depend on supercooling, a process by which an animal has the ability to rid its body fluids of impurities that would trigger the formation of ice. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Only female mosquitoes bother us (and other facts about the insects Alaskans love to hate)," 7 July 2018 The signing of Jones moves the Heat to $120 in payroll for next season, perilously close to the $123.7 million line that would trigger the punitive dollar-for-dollar luxury tax. Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Heat sign Derrick Jones Jr. to standard contract, roster now at 11 guaranteed deals," 1 July 2018 But Hartsfield-Jackson does not have motion-detection technology that would trigger an alarm if someone climbed a fence. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Atlanta airport: Hartsfield-Jackson fence breach raises security concerns," 28 June 2018 City Solicitor Andre Davis says only a conviction can trigger a Baltimore mayor’s removal from office. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Amid scandal, audit into Baltimore nonprofit’s work ordered," 12 Apr. 2019 Garlow says caffeine can trigger even more nerves and increase your heart rate. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "How to Make Your Bikini Wax Less Painful, According to Experts," 1 Apr. 2019 Instead, experts think that a nearby volcanic eruption triggered an underwater landslide, which pushed the wall of water towards the shore. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Deadly Indonesian tsunami was not caused by an earthquake," 23 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trigger.' 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 trigger

Noun

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1916, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for trigger

Noun

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

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Statistics for trigger

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trigger

The first known use of trigger was in 1621

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More Definitions for trigger

trigger

noun

English Language Learners Definition of trigger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a lever on a gun that you pull to fire the gun
: something that causes something else to happen

trigger

verb

English Language Learners Definition of trigger (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (something, such as an alarm) to start functioning
: to cause (a bomb) to explode
: to cause (something) to start or happen

trigger

noun
trig·​ger | \ ˈtri-gər How to pronounce trigger (audio) \

Kids Definition of trigger

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

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Comments on trigger

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