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panic button

noun
1.
an alarm button for use in an emergency, as to summon help.
Idioms
2.
push / hit / press the panic button, Informal. to give way to panic in a distressing situation.
Origin of panic button
allegedly first used in reference to emergency bell systems on World War II bombers such as the B-17 and B-24
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for panic button
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I certainly pushed the panic button on that young man," he said.

    The Lani People J. F. Bone
  • Chow thought some Martian monsters were invading us, and sort of pushed the panic button.

  • Now, you listen carefully: If you push the panic button on this one without cause, I will personally flay you alive.

    Missing Link Frank Patrick Herbert
British Dictionary definitions for panic button

panic button

noun
1.
a button or switch that operates any of various safety devices, for use in an emergency
2.
(informal) hit the panic button, press the panic button, to react to a situation by demanding emergency action; become excited; panic
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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Slang definitions & phrases for panic button

panic button

Related Terms

hit the panic button

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Difficulty index for panic button

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for panic

9
12
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