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Originally tricker, from Dutch trekker (pull, noun, as in drawer-pull, bell-pull), from trekken (to drag, draw, pull).



trigger (plural triggers)

  1. A finger-operated lever used to fire a gun.
    Just pull the trigger.
  2. A similar device used to activate any mechanism.
  3. An event that initiates others, or incites a response.
    Sleeping in an unfamiliar room can be a trigger for sleepwalking.
  4. A concept or image that upsets somebody.
    I can't watch that violent film. Blood is one of my triggers.
  5. (psychology) An event, experience or other stimulus that initiates a traumatic memory or action in a person.
  6. (music) An electronic transducer allowing a drum, cymbal, etc. to control an electronic drum unit or similar device.
  7. (music) A device that manually lengthens (or sometimes shortens) the slide or tubing of a brass instrument, allowing the pitch range to be altered while playing.
  8. (electronics) A pulse in an electronic circuit that initiates some component.
  9. (databases) An SQL procedure that may be initiated when a record is inserted, updated or deleted; typically used to maintain referential integrity.
  10. (online gaming) A text string that, when received by a player, will cause the player to execute a certain command.
  11. (archaic) A catch to hold the wheel of a carriage on a declivity.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


trigger (third-person singular simple present triggers, present participle triggering, simple past and past participle triggered)

  1. (transitive) To fire a weapon.
    • 2011, Baggott, Jim, The First War of Physics, Pegasus Books, →ISBN:
      A U235 bomb would therefore need to incorporate a gun weighing ten tons. Then there was the question of initiating or triggering the bomb.
  2. (transitive) To initiate something.
    The controversial article triggered a deluge of angry letters from readers.
  3. (transitive) To spark a response, especially a negative emotional response, in (someone).
    This story contains a rape scene and may be triggering for rape victims.
  4. (intransitive, especially electronics) To activate; to become active.
    • 1997, Mill Operators' Conference, page 182:
      Sodium nitrite (750 ppm) was added after the alarm triggered at three hours, and corrosion did not occur for over eight hours.



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