Definition of “trigger” - English Dictionary

“trigger” in British English

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triggernoun

uk /ˈtrɪɡ.ər/ us /ˈtrɪɡ.ɚ/

triggerverb [ T ]

uk /ˈtrɪɡ.ər/ us /ˈtrɪɡ.ɚ/

C1 to cause something bad to start:

Some people find that certain foods trigger their headaches.
The racial killings at the weekend have triggered off a wave of protests.

More examples

  • One type of diabetes is an auto-immune disease that may be triggered by a virus.
  • The racial killings at the weekend have triggered off a wave of protests throughout the country.
  • A vote of no confidence would trigger an election.
  • The car crash triggered a lot of bad memories for me.

(Definition of “trigger” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“trigger” in American English

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triggernoun [ C ]

us /ˈtrɪɡ·ər/

trigger noun [ C ] (GUN PART)

a part of a gun that causes the gun to fire when pressed:

to pull the trigger

triggerverb [ T ]

us /ˈtrɪɡ·ər/

trigger verb [ T ] (START)

to cause something to start:

I triggered the smoke alarm when I burned the potatoes.
Eating chocolate can trigger a migraine headache in some people.

(Definition of “trigger” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“trigger” in Business English

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triggernoun [ C, usually singular ]

uk /ˈtrɪɡər/ us

an event, situation, etc. that causes the start of something, especially something bad:

trigger for sth Inflation has been the trigger for nearly all post-war recessions.

triggerverb [ T ]

uk /ˈtrɪɡər/ us

to cause something to happen, especially something bad:

Central banks must raise interest rates without triggering a financial crisis for households with excessive debts.
be triggered by sth The sell-off was triggered by a profits warning.

to make a piece of equipment, etc. start working:

Any attempt to jack the car off the ground triggers the alarm automatically.

(Definition of “trigger” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)