en·​snare in-ˈsner How to pronounce ensnare (audio)
ensnared; ensnaring; ensnares

transitive verb

: to take in or as if in a snare
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 Sticky traps can ensnare native wildlife and insecticides can cause environmental harm. Lauren Leffer, Popular Science, 4 July 2024 The scandal also ensnared property agents and multiple banks. Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune Asia, 3 July 2024 That’s how Diaz, the New Jersey man, allegedly ensnared the Florida girl. Linda So, USA TODAY, 2 July 2024 The Brutality of Sugar: A Times investigation into the sugar-cane industry in the Indian state of Maharashtra found workers ensnared by debt and pushed into child marriages and unnecessary hysterectomies. David Waldstein, New York Times, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for ensnare 

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

1576, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ensnare was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near ensnare

Cite this Entry

“Ensnare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ensnare. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


en·​snare in-ˈsna(ə)r How to pronounce ensnare (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on ensnare

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!