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rip cord

noun
1.
a cord on a parachute that, when pulled, opens the parachute for descent.
2.
a cord fastened in the bag of a passenger balloon or dirigible so that a sharp pull upon it will rip or open the bag and let the gas escape, causing the balloon to descend rapidly.
Origin
1905-1910
1905-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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