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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
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. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for push the 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 push the panic button

hit the panic button

verb phrase

To give way to alarm and terror; declare a general emergency: He hit the panic button when he saw the month's figures/ a move characterized by many as pushing the panic button (1950s+ Air Force)


push the panic button

Related Terms

hit the 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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Idioms and Phrases with push the panic button

push the panic button

Also, press the panic button. Overreact to a situation, as in Don't worry; Jane is always pushing the panic button, but I'm sure the baby's fine. This term originated during World War II, when certain bombers had a bell-warning system so that the crew could bail out if the plane was severely hit. Occasionally a pilot would push the button in error, when there was only minor damage, causing the crew to bail out unnecessarily. By 1950 the expression had been transferred to other kinds of overreaction.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for panic button

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for push

9
10
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