Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(push/press) buttons

push buttonspress buttons
Meaning(s)
1) arouse or provoke a strong emotional reaction in someone
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • knows how to push somebody's buttons
  • Analysis
     If you 'push someones buttons' or 'press someone's buttons' you are deliberately irritating them or causing them to react negatively in a strong way. "Graham always interrupts Lara when she is speaking, he knows it really pushes her buttons." "I told myself not to let her upset me but she knows how to push all my buttons." To 'push someone's buttons' can also mean to excite someone in a sexual way. "He knows all the right buttons to press."
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. Matthew tried to stay calm in his argument with Sarah, but she knew exactly what to say to push his buttons.
    2. Andrew is very difficult to be around. He is always pushing people's buttons because he loves to wind them up.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. The HR Manager had to speak with Tom about pushing his colleague's buttons. He was making a lot of people angry.
    2. What really presses my buttons is the thrill of the Sale. I love closing the deal and signing the contract.
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