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compound hair + trigger



hair-trigger (plural hair-triggers)

  1. a trigger that will set off a firearm when even a very small pressure is applied
    • 1847: Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail
      ... the hunter brings the sight of his rifle to bear; lightly and delicately his finger presses upon the hair-trigger.
    • 1872: Mark Twain, Roughing It
      Is your laugh hung on a hair-trigger?--that is, is it critical, or can you get it off easy?


hair-trigger (not comparable)

  1. unstable, in a situation that could be worsened by the slightest mistake
  2. easily angered, having a short temper
    • 1922: Peter B. Kyne, Cappy Rick Retires
      "Gus," the latter began, "am I right in assuming that you possess a reasonable amount of influence with that hair-trigger partner of yours, Live Wire Luiz?"