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push button

noun
1.
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.
2.
the button or knob depressed.
Also, pushbutton.
Origin
1875-1880
1875-80, Americanism

push-button

[poo sh-buht-n] /ˈpʊʃˌbʌt n/
adjective
1.
operated by or as if by push buttons:
push-button tuning.
2.
using complex, automated weapons, as long-range missiles, that require only simple initial steps to put them into action:
push-button warfare.
Origin
1875-80, Americanism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for pushbutton

push button

noun
1.
an electrical switch operated by pressing a button, which closes or opens a circuit
2.
(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 pushbutton

push-button

adj.

"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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