push one's buttons
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British pronunciation/pˈʊʃ pɹˈɛs wˈɒnz bˈʌtənz/
American pronunciation/pˈʊʃ pɹˈɛs wˈʌnz bˈʌʔn̩z/
01

to do something that annoys or irritates someone

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to [push|press] {one's} buttons definition and meaning

What is the origin of the idiom "push one's buttons" and when to use it?

The origin of the phrase "push one's buttons" is rooted in the concept of control panels or electronic devices with buttons or switches that activate specific functions. It is commonly employed in conversations or relationships to illustrate instances where someone knows how to provoke or manipulate another person's emotions, often for their own benefit or amusement. This expression can be used to describe heated arguments, power struggles, or situations where individuals intentionally push each other's emotional boundaries, often resulting in increased tension, conflict, or discomfort.

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Example
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He always tries to push my buttons by bringing up sensitive topics during our conversations.
Yesterday, she really pressed his buttons with her sarcastic remarks, causing a heated argument.
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Meaning of "To [push|press] {one's} buttons"
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