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noun \ˈtrap\

Definition of trap

  1. 1 :  a device for taking game or other animals; especially :  one that holds by springing shut suddenly

  2. 2a :  something by which one is caught or stopped unawares; also :  a position or situation from which it is difficult or impossible to escapeb :  a football play in which a defensive player is allowed to cross the line of scrimmage and then is blocked from the side while the ballcarrier advances through the spot vacated by the defensive playerc :  the act or an instance of trapping the ball in soccerd :  a defensive maneuver in basketball in which two defenders converge quickly on the ball handler to steal the ball or force a bad pass

  3. 3a :  a device for hurling clay pigeons into the airb :  sand trapc :  a piece of leather or section of interwoven leather straps between the thumb and index finger of a baseball glove that forms an extension of the pocket

  4. 4 slang :  mouth

  5. 5 :  a light usually one-horse carriage with springs

  6. 6 :  any of various devices for preventing passage of something often while allowing other matter to proceed; especially :  a device for drains or sewers consisting of a bend or partitioned chamber in which the liquid forms a seal to prevent the passage of sewer gas

  7. 7 plural :  a group of percussion instruments (as a bass drum, snare drums, and cymbals) used especially in a dance or jazz band

  8. 8 :  an arrangement of rock strata that favors the accumulation of oil and gas

  9. 9 plural [speed trap] :  a measured stretch of a course over which electronic timing devices measure the speed of a vehicle (as a racing car or dragster)

Origin of trap

Middle English, from Old English treppe & Anglo-French trape (of Germanic origin); akin to Middle Dutch trappe trap, stair, Old English treppan to tread

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Hunting and Fishing Terms

Rhymes with trap




Definition of trap


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to catch or take in or as if in a trap :  entrapb :  to place in a restricted position :  confine <trapped in the burning wreck>

  3. 2 :  to provide or set (a place) with traps

  4. 3a :  stop, hold <these mountains trap rains and fogs generated over the ocean — American Guide Series: California>b :  to separate out (as water from steam)

  5. 4a :  to catch (as a baseball) immediately after a bounceb :  to block out (a defensive football player) by means of a trapc :  to stop and gain control of (a soccer ball) with a part of the body other than the hands or arms

  6. intransitive verb
  7. 1 :  to engage in trapping animals (as for furs)

  8. 2 :  to make a defensive trap in basketball

trap·per noun

14th Century

First Known Use of trap

14th century

Synonym Discussion of trap

catch, capture, trap, snare, entrap, ensnare, bag mean to come to possess or control by or as if by seizing. catch implies the seizing of something in motion or in flight or in hiding <caught the dog as it ran by>. capture suggests taking by overcoming resistance or difficulty <capture an enemy stronghold>. trap, snare, entrap, ensnare imply seizing by some device that holds the one caught at the mercy of the captor. trap and snare apply more commonly to physical seizing <trap animals> <snared butterflies with a net>. entrap and ensnare more often are figurative <entrapped the witness with a trick question> <a sting operation that ensnared burglars>. bag implies shooting down a fleeing or distant prey <bagged a brace of pheasants>.



transitive verb

Definition of trap


  1. :  to adorn with or as if with trappings

Origin of trap

Middle English trappen, from trappe caparison, from Anglo-French trape, probably from Medieval Latin trapus cloth, by-form of Late Latin drappus

First Known Use: 14th century




Definition of trap

Origin of trap

Swedish trapp, from trappa stair, from Middle Low German trappe; akin to Middle Dutch trappe stair

First Known Use: 1794

Other Civil Engineering Terms

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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