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Meaning of trigger

trig•ger

Pronunciation: (trig'ur), [key]
— n.
  1. a small projecting tongue in a firearm that, when pressed by the finger, actuates the mechanism that discharges the weapon.
  2. a device, as a lever, the pulling or pressing of which releases a detent or spring.
  3. anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.
  4. triggerman.
  5. quick to act or respond; impetuous; alert.
—v.t.
  1. to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.): Their small protest triggered a mass demonstration.
  2. to fire or explode (a gun, missile, etc.) by pulling a trigger or releasing a triggering device: He accidentally triggered his rifle.
—v.i.
  1. to release a trigger.
  2. to become active; activate.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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