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hair trigger

noun
1.
a trigger that allows the firing mechanism of a firearm to be operated by very slight pressure.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25

hair-trigger

[hair-trig-er] /ˈhɛərˌtrɪg ər/
adjective
1.
easily activated or set off; reacting immediately to the slightest provocation or cause:
a hair-trigger temper.
Origin
1885-90
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hair trigger
  • He's always been a guy without boundaries, a chronic inappropriate kidder with a hair trigger temper.
  • But for less ham-handed duelists, the hair trigger allowed not only a faster shot but a more accurate one, too.
  • Volatility goes up, because firms can and do enter and exit positions on a hair trigger.
  • Without this hair trigger electrical system, life would be more than calm.
  • The bank might be interested to know that these firearms had their triggering mechanism filed to the proverbial hair trigger.
  • His violent outbursts and hair trigger temper result in countless confrontations with the law.
British Dictionary definitions for hair trigger

hair trigger

noun
1.
a trigger of a firearm that responds to very slight pressure
2.
(informal)
  1. any mechanism, reaction, etc, set in operation by slight provocation
  2. (as modifier): a hair-trigger temper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hair trigger

hair-trigger

n.

1830, originally a secondary trigger in a firearm which sprung free a mechanism (hair) which, when set, allowed the main trigger (n.) to be released by very slight force. Figurative use by 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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