booby trap


: a trap for the unwary or unsuspecting : pitfall
: a concealed explosive device contrived to go off when some harmless-looking object is touched
booby-trap transitive verb

Examples of booby trap in a Sentence

Someone had rigged a booby trap that blew up the car when the engine was started. We set a booby trap by balancing a bucket of water on top of the door so that it would fall on him when he came in.
Recent Examples on the Web Look, this movie is filled with giant culture war booby traps. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 19 May 2024 When two bumbling thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) attempt to rob his home, Kevin begins an elaborately violent, slapstick battle of wits via booby traps involving a tarantula, paint buckets, and flamethrowers. Chris Snellgrove,, 16 Apr. 2024 Such drug growing sites, which are guarded by individuals with weapons and protected with booby traps, have been a problem for authorities in California for decades. Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Kevin grasped the depth of Marv and Harry’s depravity and planned accordingly by setting out his elaborate booby traps with ingenuity and precision. Gregory M. Collins, National Review, 27 Dec. 2023 The characters must navigate different booby traps and escape from one cube into another. Chris Snellgrove,, 16 Oct. 2023 An eight-year-old boy brimming with booby traps offered an answer in 1990 as eloquent as any from a conservative intellectual before or since: his home. Gregory M. Collins, National Review, 27 Dec. 2023 In intense urban combat, fought above and below ground, Hamas militants dart from building to building in civilian clothes, the IDF says, and attempt to ensnare Israeli soldiers with booby traps and lures. Hazem Balousha, Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2023 With a chilly austerity worthy of Stanley Kubrick or Michael Haneke, Glazer turns a static shot into a booby trap and a daily activity into an indictment. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'booby trap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of booby trap was in 1832

Dictionary Entries Near booby trap

Cite this Entry

“Booby trap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

booby trap

: a trap for a careless or unsuspecting person
especially : a concealed explosive device set to go off when a harmless-looking object is touched

More from Merriam-Webster on booby trap

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