Is there another meaning in 'pull the trigger'? (in the book 'Good Omens')

Lipinghe

Member
Korean - South Korea (Republic of Korea)
I'm reading "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I was wandering what does Crowley means by saying that:

(There are trainees in management training, which involves mock battles simulated with paintball guns, and Crowley secretly changed their fake guns into real guns. Aziraphale was shocked at that.)

"The way I see it," said Crowley, "no one has to pull the trigger." He gave Aziraphale a bright and brittle grin.

Is he really trying to say 'I think no one needs to fire a gun'? I thought it implies something more humorous and cynical, because if he really want to say that, it makes no sense but also far from the context. I read it in Korean before, but it is translated into a sentence which simply means ‘no one needs to fire a gun.’ Is there another meaning in 'pull the trigger' in English, or I just can't get it? Thanks in advance for your answer.
 
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  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Without further context I can't see another meaning. I do think it matters how you read it, though. My understanding is that he means:

    no one has to (is obliged to) pull the trigger

    suggesting that Crowley is trying to pretend that it's not his responsibility if someone gets hurt, by saying the equivalent of 'it's not me that's going to hurt anyone, it's the person who chooses to actually fire his gun' – which is not going to fool anyone, of course it's Crowley's fault, and he doesn't really expect anyone to believe that (which is why he gives a 'bright and brittle grin'.
     

    Lipinghe

    Member
    Korean - South Korea (Republic of Korea)
    Without further context I can't see another meaning. I do think it matters how you read it, though. My understanding is that he means:

    no one has to (is obliged to) pull the trigger

    suggesting that Crowley is trying to pretend that it's not his responsibility if someone gets hurt, by saying the equivalent of 'it's not me that's going to hurt anyone, it's the person who chooses to actually fire his gun' – which is not going to fool anyone, of course it's Crowley's fault, and he doesn't really expect anyone to believe that (which is why he gives a 'bright and brittle grin'.
    I think your understanding is perfectly right, considering Crowley's characteristic. Thank you so much :D
     

    goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Is there another meaning in 'pull the trigger' in English, or I just can't get it?
    I'm not sure that it applies in this context -- I suspect it doesn't -- but "pull the trigger" is often used as a metaphor for "decide to take action (usually something that can't be undone)", e.g.:

    I was hesitant to give up the steady paycheck, but ultimately I decided to pull the trigger and quit my job to become a full-time artist.



     

    Lipinghe

    Member
    Korean - South Korea (Republic of Korea)
    I'm not sure that it applies in this context -- I suspect it doesn't -- but "pull the trigger" is often used as a metaphor for "decide to take action (usually something that can't be undone)", e.g.:

    I was hesitant to give up the steady paycheck, but ultimately I decided to pull the trigger and quit my job to become a full-time artist.


    Thank you for answering and example sentence! It helped me study English :D
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It helped me too as I'd never heard that before:)* ~ it's very similar to bite the bullet.

    *Mind you, I'll have forgotten it within the next 12 minutes.
     

    Lipinghe

    Member
    Korean - South Korea (Republic of Korea)
    It helped me too as I'd never heard that before:)* ~ it's very similar to bite the bullet.

    *Mind you, I'll have forgotten it within the next 12 minutes.
    I am happy that this thread helps you too! (I'm so sorry, but I can't get what does "that" dictate in your sentence due to my poor English.)
    Besides, Thank you for giving me another synonym. I didn't know bite the bullet is similar to pull the trigger.
     
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    goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Thank you for answering and example sentence! It helped me study English :D
    You're very welcome!

    I am happy that this thread helps you too! (I'm so sorry, but I can't get what does "that" dictate in your sentence due to my poor English.)
    In ewie's sentence, "that" means "that expression", I believe.

    Besides, Thank you for giving me another synonym. I didn't know bite the bullet is similar to pull the trigger.
    I think bite the bullet usually means that a task is unpleasant or difficult, and has to be endured or suffered through, whereas pull the trigger doesn't necessarily have that connotation (at least not to my ears) -- it just means to commit to a course of action (usually something abrupt or dramatic). So they're not really synonyms, though there is some similarity.
     

    Lipinghe

    Member
    Korean - South Korea (Republic of Korea)
    I think bite the bullet usually means that a task is unpleasant or difficult, and has to be endured or suffered through, whereas pull the trigger doesn't necessarily have that connotation (at least not to my ears) -- it just means to commit to a course of action (usually something abrupt or dramatic). So they're not really synonyms, though there is some similarity.
    Thank you so much for detailed explanation, and I will keep that in mind. After reading your answer, I googled it to get more example sentences :) It helped me a lot.

    In ewie's sentence, "that" means "that expression", I believe.
    :):thumbsup:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I'm not sure that it applies in this context -- I suspect it doesn't -- but "pull the trigger" is often used as a metaphor for "decide to take action (usually something that can't be undone)", e.g.:

    I was hesitant to give up the steady paycheck, but ultimately I decided to pull the trigger and quit my job to become a full-time artist.



    In the USA I hear it used in that context frequently.

    "Mike, you were shopping for that new Ferrari. Did you ever decide to pull the trigger on that deal?"
     
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