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

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 That means customers will have to weigh his promises about deliveries before the end of the year against the company’s actual track record before pulling the trigger on a new Model 3. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Tesla promises all cars ordered by October 15th will qualify for $7,500 tax break," 12 Oct. 2018 Five years ago, 25-year-old radical libertarian Cody Wilson stood on a remote central Texas gun range and pulled the trigger on the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns," 10 July 2018 These folks may even have their financing lined up but can’t pull the trigger on a purchase. Kenya Burrell-vanwormer, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Buyer’s personality can affect sale," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Warnings about the cancer-spreading risks associated with power morcellators and the subsequent decline in the devices’ use haven’t triggered a sustained rise in open surgery for hysterectomy patients as some critics feared, a new study has found. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Hysterectomy-Tool Warnings Didn’t Trigger Long-Term Return to Open Surgery," 12 Mar. 2019 The shutdown has triggered delays and mass cancellations throughout Europe and beyond, with CNN reporting a total of 591 cancellations at Brussels airport. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Belgium Cancels All Flights For 24 Hours as Air Traffic Controllers Strike," 13 Feb. 2019 Beryl has triggered a hurricane watch for Dominica and tropical storm watches for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, according to an 8 p.m. weather updated from the National Hurricane Center. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hurricane Beryl heads toward islands as a Category 1," 7 July 2018 Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan's decision to settle a lawsuit over the state's voter-registration rules has triggered a torrent of criticism from Steve Gaynor, her opponent in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Republican secretary of state candidates spar over Arizona's voter-registration rules," 6 July 2018 Wolves have triggered options in the loan contracts of @BonatiniOficial and @Rubenvinagrejr, which will see both make permanent moves to Molineux. SI.com, "Wolves Announce Permanent Signings of Former Loanee Pair Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre," 30 June 2018 Just one more year of failure for either school could have triggered a state takeover of the Fort Worth ISD. Kent P. Scribner, star-telegram, "FWISD superintendent announces "turnaround" at some low-performing elementary schools," 28 June 2018 The surface is strewn with boulders larger than would be expected to have accumulated on an asteroid of its size, something that has triggered a debate among planetary scientists. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Japan’s new asteroid probe reaches its target after 3.2-billion-kilometer journey," 27 June 2018 Bernard and Dolores' arrival has triggered Logan to open The Door: a portal to the hosts' valhalla. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real?," 25 June 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

18 Mar 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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