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Alternative forms[edit]


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.
    • 1870–1871, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], Roughing It, Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company [et al.], published 1872, →OCLC:
      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?"
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      [I]n the 575 days since [Oscar] Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, there has been an unseemly scramble to construct revisionist histories, to identify evidence beneath that placid exterior of a pugnacious, hair-trigger personality.
    Synonym: hair-triggered