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(1) A mechanism that initiates an action when an event occurs such as reaching a certain time or date or upon receiving some type of input. A trigger generally causes a program routine to be executed.

(2) In a database management system (DBMS), a trigger is an SQL procedure that is executed when a record is added or deleted. It is used to maintain referential integrity in the database. A trigger may also execute a stored procedure. Triggers and stored procedures are built into DBMSs used in client/server environments. See intelligent database.

(3) A condition that initiates the harmful effects of a logic bomb such as many viruses and worms. Many forms of malicious software use particular dates as triggers. Some viruses count the number of infections and trigger their payloads at a specific number.

intelligent database

A database that contains knowledge about the content of its data. For example, a set of validation criteria can be stored with each field of data, such as the minimum and maximum values that can be entered or a list of all possible entries. Some intelligent databases can include rules that can be applied to incoming and outgoing data. The more the database is aware of its content, the more effectively it can respond to complex user queries. See DBMS.

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