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press (or push or hit) the panic button

Definition of press or push or hit the panic button in English:

informal Respond to a situation by panicking or taking emergency measures: the very thought of reaching 50 makes me want to press the panic button
More example sentences
  • Our central bankers responded by hitting the panic button, provoking an abrupt and dramatic change in market perceptions.
  • Panic buys have been replaced by pressing the panic button and jettisoning the guy in charge of the team.
  • We are mindful of that but it is not a situation where we think it necessary to press the panic button.
See parent entry: panic button
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