death trap


: a structure or situation that is potentially very dangerous to life

Example Sentences

That old elevator is a death trap. The factory was a death trap with too few exits for the workers to use in case of a fire.
Recent Examples on the Web This building is a death trap. Journal Sentinel, 30 Dec. 2022 The plane really was a death trap. Devon Ivie, Vulture, 2 Feb. 2021 Every dive is fraught with peril, every constricted chamber in the vast subterranean maze could turn out to be a death trap. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 7 Oct. 2021 As more people crossed into South Texas in the 2010s, Brooks County became a death trap for many migrants who tried walking around a Border Patrol highway checkpoint in the town of Falfurrias, about 70 miles north of the border. Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2022 The franchise has gone from a golden destination for quarterbacks to a death trap in the eyes of the public. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 11 Nov. 2022 For old-school, high-church surfers, the search for a hundred-foot wave can seem like a marketing conceit, not to mention a death trap. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 Many sheltered in place, terrified that their own home could become a death trap. New York Times, 16 Jan. 2022 The United States and Taiwan must urgently invest in the capabilities — sea mines, anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles — that could turn the Taiwan Strait into a death trap for Chinese forces. Hal Brands, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'death 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

1828, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of death trap was in 1828

Dictionary Entries Near death trap

Cite this Entry

“Death trap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

death trap

: an object or situation likely to cause death
that old elevator is a death trap
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