trig·​ger-hap·​py ˈtri-gər-ˌha-pē How to pronounce trigger-happy (audio)
: irresponsible in the use of firearms
especially : inclined to shoot before clearly identifying the target
: inclined to be irresponsible in matters that might precipitate war
: aggressively belligerent in attitude

Examples of trigger-happy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ricki Tarr is not a trigger-happy super-spy but a low-level field agent who happens to be a bit of a romantic gentleman. Elliott Smith and Chris Bellamy,, 23 May 2024 Worst off were grizzly bears, who overwhelmingly perished near roads—not because they were struck by cars, though that happened, but because roads pumped the woods full of trigger-happy humans. Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Feb. 2024 The great Sam Neill and Deadpool 2's Julian Dennison make a team for the ages, as the unlikely fugitives dodge cops, social workers, trigger-happy hunters, and the occasional wild boar, all while Waititi parcels out the development of their inevitable, grudging bond with the deftest comic touch. Dennis Perkins,, 17 Jan. 2024 Remedy One of those sacrificial murders was none other than Agent Nightingale, whom fans will remember as the trigger-happy, typically inebriated ex-FBI agent from the first game. Sarah Leboeuf, Ars Technica, 13 June 2023 During the Depression, Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker and their trigger-happy robbery gang terrorized the country and were later immortalized by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in a 1967 movie. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 19 Dec. 2023 His novel of the same name features an urban standoff between a lawman and a trigger-happy outlaw with a citywide blackmail plot. Brett Williams, Men's Health, 1 Aug. 2023 By the 1950s, wanton slaughter of wild burros in California’s desert and mountains had reached such proportions that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pressed for legislation to protect the creatures from trigger-happy hunters. Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 15 July 2023 Such people may be jumpy, irritable, violent, trigger-happy, drugged out, avoidant, defeated, morose, or self-harming, for reasons that no one can recall. George Makari, The New Yorker, 13 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'trigger-happy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1943, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of trigger-happy was in 1943

Dictionary Entries Near trigger-happy

Cite this Entry

“Trigger-happy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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