9 Grammatical Pitfalls

hair trigger

a trigger that allows the firing mechanism of a firearm to be operated by very slight pressure.
Origin of hair trigger


[hair-trig-er] /ˈhɛərˌtrɪg ər/
easily activated or set off; reacting immediately to the slightest provocation or cause:
a hair-trigger temper.
1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hair-trigger
  • Militarily, the situation remains on a hair-trigger.
  • Perimeter ensures the ability to strike back, but it's no hair-trigger device.
  • There is no reason, he says, to have thousands of armed missiles on something close to hair-trigger alert.
  • They reported the same nightmares, the same panics, the same hair-trigger vigilance their parents had.
  • Clearly, he still has an uncertain feel for the hair-trigger proprieties of national politics.
  • Avoid adverse reactions and sidestep hair-trigger tempers by carefully considering your words.
  • The realization that shooting first provides a huge advantage over an adversary leads to hair-trigger vigilance.
  • Banning the hair-trigger loss of promotional interest rates.
  • One day he was examining that pistol with its delicate hair-trigger.
  • She has the usual hair-trigger temper warranted to go off at the expected moment.
British Dictionary definitions for hair-trigger

hair trigger

a trigger of a firearm that responds to very slight pressure
  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

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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