There was a discussion yesterday about if adding "Trigger warnings" was something we should do on Tildes. One of the things that I noted is that we don't have a general consensus on what actually constitutes a trigger. I thought it might be a good idea to have some discussions on what triggers are, so that we can have an effective discussion on the matter.
I'm attempting to refrain from editorializing, and I'm open to revising how this is presented to meet that goal. I will editorialize in the comments, though.
Accepted Psychological Definition. From Psychcentral.com, a generally accepted psychological definition of a trigger. The article I linked is a quick read, and I recommend you check it out, but if it's too lengthy:
A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.
Tumblr Definition. Some people are using a softer version of what a "trigger" is, and the definition is something more like this one, from mashable, discussing Tumblr
... a trigger is defined as content that could make someone upset, uncomfortable, or forced to remember or relive a past trauma.
Another definition direct from Trigger Warning Guide on Tumblr:
trigger or content warning, or TW and CW for short, is used to warn people of content that might illicit a strong or potentially harmful emotional response.
Meme Definition. Other people didn't even understand that "trigger" actually has a real, psychology definition; they seemed to be more in line with an Urban Dictionary-esque definition (this is unpleasant, but important):
A word used often by idiots on Tumblr to justify their bitchy attitudes, most of whom don't know what a real traumatic experience is.