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

Also, some munis pay interest that’s subject to the alternative minimum tax (but many fewer taxpayers are ensnared by the AMT these days). Tom Herman, WSJ, "The Smart Ways to Be a Tax-Savvy Investor," 10 Feb. 2019 In Japan’s justice system—which has ensnared former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn—the confession has a central place, and the treatment of suspects often revolves around extracting one. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Carlos Ghosn Beware: Japan ‘Will Stop at Nothing to Get a Confession’," 13 Jan. 2019 Last week, Kansas was newly tied to the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball, per a federal indictment, which has also ensnared programs at Louisville, Miami and NC State. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Kansas coach Bill Self reportedly checks in on five-star Charles Bassey," 18 Apr. 2018 Romania’s leaders endlessly seek to weaken anti-graft laws that might otherwise ensnare them. The Economist, "The EU should get tough on its illiberal democracies," 19 Apr. 2018 The incumbent has certainly shown that family ties can ensnare you, even in a place like the Trump White House where nepotism is among the least important personnel problems. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Bernie Sanders Has Two Family Members Running For Office, And That Could Cause Real Trouble," 1 Mar. 2018 What about ramifications for the other schools ensnared by the FBI investigation? Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "From one-and-done to agents: What we learned from college basketball commission's report," 25 Apr. 2018 The irony of a Canadian being ensnared by the Russian scandal isn’t lost on Dutton. New York Times, "Far From the Games, a Canadian Skater Says Russia Cost Him a Spot," 18 Feb. 2018 One wave of hacks even ensnared Google’s G Suite Twitter account. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook imposters are trying to swindle users out of bitcoin," 18 Dec. 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

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ensnare

The first known use of ensnare was in 1576

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More Definitions for ensnare



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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More from Merriam-Webster on ensnare

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ensnare

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ensnare

Spanish Central: Translation of ensnare

Nglish: Translation of ensnare for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ensnare

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a servile follower or underling

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