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push button

or pushbutton

a device designed to close or open an electric circuit when a button or knob is depressed, and to return to a normal position when it is released.
the button or knob depressed.
Origin of push button
1875-80, Americanism


[poo sh-buht-n] /ˈpʊʃˌbʌt n/
operated by or as if by push buttons:
push-button tuning.
using complex, automated weapons, as long-range missiles, that require only simple initial steps to put them into action:
push-button warfare.
1875-80, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for push-button
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Garwell touched a push-button on his desk, and a clerk appeared.

    From Farm to Fortune Horatio Alger Jr.
  • Give the location of the electric bell, the electric generator and the push-button.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • The push-button was kept busy until the steward in charge of that department gave signs of exhaustion.

    A New Sensation Albert Ross
  • "Just you wait until I call the porter," said Roger, and touched the push-button.

    Dave Porter in the South Seas Edward Stratemeyer
  • He sighed resignedly and pressed the push-button on his desk.

    The Valley of the Giants Peter B. Kyne
  • "I see you have," Cappy cut in blandly, and pressed the push-button on his desk.

    The Go-Getter Peter B. Kyne
  • Going to the push-button in the wall she snapped on the light; Alice jumped at its suddenness.

    The Silent Readers William D. Lewis
  • On the front door of the jail was a push-button that connected by a wire with a gong within the building.

    Frank Merriwell's Bravery Burt L. Standish
  • A second dim light was burning here, just enabling him to see the push-button.

    Concerning Sally William John Hopkins
British Dictionary definitions for push-button

push button

an electrical switch operated by pressing a button, which closes or opens a circuit
(modifier) push-button
  1. operated by a push button: a push-button radio
  2. initiated as simply as by pressing a button: push-button warfare
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 push-button

"characterized by the use of push-buttons," 1945, originally of military systems, earlier "operated by push-buttons" (1903), from push-button (n.), 1865, from push (v.) + button (n.). Earlier was press-button (1892), from the noun (1879).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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push-button in Technology

A roughly fingertip-sized plastic cover attached to a spring-loaded, normally-open switch, which, when pressed, closes the switch. Typical examples are the keys on a computer or calculator keyboard and mouse buttons.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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