push someone's buttons

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Alternative forms[edit]


push someone's buttons (third-person singular simple present pushes someone's buttons, present participle pushing someone's buttons, simple past and past participle pushed someone's buttons)

  1. (informal) To do specific things to anger someone (less commonly, sexually arouse or otherwise elicit a strong reaction), especially intentionally or maliciously.
    You really knew how to push my buttons.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Particularly used of actions that affect the recipient but not other people, such as bringing up a particular upsetting topic or performing an irritating activity.


  • trigger (to spark a response)


See also[edit]