That last post about trekking has triggered this one: it turns out that the English word trigger also traces back to the Dutch verb trekken that originally meant ‘to pull.’ The trigger of a gun, or course, is the piece that a person pulls to make the gun go off.

Like trekking, the English word trigger has now passed into Spanish, or at least into the technical Spanish of computer science. According to the Spanish-language Wikipedia

Un trigger (o disparador) en una Base de datos , es un procedimiento que se ejecuta cuando se cumple una condición establecida al realizar una operación. Dependiendo de la base de datos, los triggers pueden ser de inserción (INSERT), actualización (UPDATE) o borrado (DELETE). Algunas bases de datos pueden ejecutar triggers al crear, borrar o editar usuarios, tablas, bases de datos u otros objetos.

Notice the English-style plural triggers, which I assume many Spanish speakers will pronounce as if it were written triggeres. And notice also that the English words trekker and trigger are essentially doublets. (And I’ll remind readers that many technical terms like doublet are explained in the Glossary linked to in the bar at the top of each page in this blog.)

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Aug 18, 2012 @ 20:50:01

    I started to think about all the ways “trigger” has entered our language as a metaphor for that pulling motion that makes a gun go off. There’s “hair-trigger temper”, of course, and experiences that “trigger memories”. With luck, none of us have memories of ‘trigger-happy people”.

    And who can forget the most famous Trigger of all, previously known as Golden Cloud and ridden for years by Roy Rogers? He received his name because of his quickness – both physical and mental, according to Roy. He was, they said, “Quick on the trigger”.


    • Steve Schwartzman
      Aug 18, 2012 @ 21:20:47

      And think about all those B westerns in which someone had an itchy trigger finger. I never knew till now why Roger’s horse was called Trigger, but I remember the television show (and the horse, of course) from my childhood, and also the way episodes ended with the singing of “Happy trails to you till we meet again.”


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If you encounter an unfamiliar technical term in any of these postings, check the Glossary in the bar across the top of the page.
©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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