Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A wire stretched near ground level to trip or ensnare an enemy.
  • n. A wire or line that activates a weapon, trap, or camera, for example, when pulled.
  • n. A small military force whose involvement in hostilities will trigger the use of a larger force.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cord or wire arranged so that when snagged or pulled by an intruder, it will trigger a detector or trap or a device, such as a land mine.
  • n. Any means of detecting intruders.

Etymologies

trip + wire (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The 82nd was variously called a tripwire, or, more cynically, a "speed bump", as a paratroop division could not have directly fought Iraqi armored units.

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • No mention that the "tripwire" came when Limbaugh said he hoped Obama fails, four days before Obama was inaugurated.

    Who's Really Using Rush Limbaugh As A Distraction?

  • The GIs understood their role: If the North Koreans ever came south again, they would be the tripwire Washington would need to intervene and send for help--"tripwire" being a term Gen. LaPorte rejected when I asked him to describe their role.

    The Scariest Place

  • Explain to them what a "tripwire" setup is, how they download, install, configure and monitor it, what

    ZDNet UK Highlights

  • Because the government is concerned about the "tripwire" effect as well as the reaction in the markets in the event that Citigroup and / or Bank of America were to collapse.

    Conspiracy Planet

  • They are frightened about the "tripwire" effect because they are desperately trying NOT to tell the people how dire the situation really is and how close to global economic collapse we really are.

    Conspiracy Planet

  • Schwarzkopf described the phases of commitment: immediate: U.S. "tripwire" presence of a 4,000 soldier

    Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium - Recent changes [en]

  • We've spent our whole lives on the 'tripwire' and continue to do so.

    Army Rumour Service

  • Also, is anyone else concerned about the "tripwire" idea in regards to purchasing ammo?

    Latest Articles

  • “My job, in some ways, was to serve as a kind of tripwire for the White House,” he says.

    The Longest War

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