Intransitive use of the verb to trigger

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of English states that “to trigger” is a transitive verb. Therefore it would be incorrect to state “An alarm triggers”. We have to say “X triggers the alarm” or “the alarm is triggered”.
I have seen multiple occasions where “to trigger” is used as an intransitive verb. Like in “In that case the alarm triggers. Is that correct English ?
I think it is not. Is that so ?


As I was interested in which dictionaries give the intransitive definition, I checked a few:

Here are the ones that don’t list an intransitive use:

Dictionaries that DO list an intransitive definition:

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary:

  1. to release a trigger.
  2. to become active; activate.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

to release a mechanical trigger

Random House Unabridged Dictionary (From

  1. to release a trigger.
  2. to become active; activate.

Dictionaries I couldn’t check because I don’t have an account or subscription:

Whether you can use a verb intransitively or not is a tricky subject.

Source : Link , Question Author : Nico Vertriest , Answer Author : Zebrafish

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