en·snare | \ in-ˈsner , en- \
ensnared; ensnaring; ensnares

Definition of ensnare 

transitive verb

: to take in or as if in a snare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ensnare


catch up, enmesh (also immesh), ensnarl, entangle, entrap, mesh, net, snare, tangle, trap


disentangle, untangle

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Choose the Right Synonym for ensnare

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

Examples of ensnare in a Sentence

The animals got ensnared in the net. The police successfully ensnared the burglar.

Recent Examples on the Web

Trade friction also threatens to ensnare major Chinese companies, with China Mobile the latest to encounter obstacles in the U.S. market. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "China says “fully prepared” if trade war kicks off this week," 3 July 2018 The exposure led to a reaction in which protein fibers called amyloids, which cause the plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains, were formed, perhaps to ensnare the viruses as part of immune response. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Childhood Virus May Have a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease," 23 June 2018 Charlotte and Bernard manage to ensnare the group's leader, and Bernard plugs into the host's arm to reprogram him, jacking up his virtue and compassion. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 3: Robot, Human, and Everything in Between," 7 May 2018 An alphabet soup of different consumer, privacy and media regulators will slowly try to ensnare the big tech firms. The Economist, "America’s antitrust apparatus prepares to act against big tech," 26 Apr. 2018 In Britain, where anti-Semitic hate crimes have hit record highs in each of the past two years, such mutations have begun to ensnare the political left, adding another controversial layer to this evolving landscape of anti-Semitism. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "An old beast re-awoken, anti-Semitism stalks Europe, US once more," 11 Apr. 2018 In a previous Channel 4 News expose, the undercover reporter filmed Cambridge Analytica executives talking about how the firm could use prostitutes and former spies to ensnare politicians and influence elections. Bloomberg.com, "Cambridge Analytica Boasted of Disappearing Emails in Campaigns," 20 Mar. 2018 The case made national headlines after Tulsa County officers invited 73-year-old Reserve Deputy Robert Bates along for a gun sting meant to ensnare Harris. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Tulsa County, Okla., Agrees to Pay $6 Million in Excessive-Force Lawsuit Over Death of Eric Harris," 10 Mar. 2018 On top of that, Grant’s work helps inform officers who take on the roles of the image and video traders themselves, trying to sneakily gather intelligence on whom police can ensnare next. Chris Stokel-walker, The Atlantic, "The Linguist Who Helps Police Catch Child Predators," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ensnare.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ensnare

1576, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for ensnare

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ensnare

The first known use of ensnare was in 1576

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English Language Learners Definition of ensnare

: to catch (an animal or person) in a trap or in a place from which there is no escape

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Comments on ensnare

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characteristic trappings or dress

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