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, entoil, 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

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort faces multiple indictments as a result of the probe, which has ensnared multiple Trump associates. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "Russia-bound Sen. Moran plans to tell Putin that election interference ‘unacceptable’," 29 June 2018 The premise of his reluctance to make Trump available for an interview is that Mueller is operating in bad faith and might prey upon the imperfection of human memory to ensnare the president. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "Rudy Giuliani basically admitted Trump might not tell Mueller the truth," 4 June 2018 The House farm bill also became briefly ensnared in an unrelated legislative brawl over immigration, which caused it to fail on the first try before passing -- barely -- when it was brought back up last week. Caitlin Dewey, chicagotribune.com, "Senate passes sweeping farm bill by wide margin, setting up fight with House," 29 June 2018 The provision was offered to help a wave of veterans returning from combat with substance abuse issues who were getting ensnared in the criminal justice system. Stephanie Ebbert, BostonGlobe.com, "Judge denies Valor Act in assault case," 27 June 2018 He was fascinated by how economically struggling people get swept up by racist messaging that really only helps the rich—and even more fascinated by how people of color and other marginalized groups can get ensnared by that same movement. Laura Bradley, HWD, "How Dear White People Found Itself Sophomore Year," 6 May 2018 Another salient figure is pharmaceutical executive Sam Waksal, who was convicted in 2002 for insider trading and also famously ensnared his good friend Martha Stewart, landing her behind bars too. Hugo Lindgren, Town & Country, "What Does a Person Have to Do to Become a Social Outcast, Anyway?," 3 May 2017 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

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

10 Nov 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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full of whispering sounds

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