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

Definition of ensnare

transitive verb

: to take in or as if in a snare

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for ensnare


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


disentangle, untangle

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Unlike other spiders that use webs to ensnare their prey, huntsman chase theirs down and immobilize them using venom. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A spider ate a possum. The photos are the ‘stuff of nightmares.’," 19 June 2019 The South Carolina Republican also had a warning for Trump using his pardon power to help those who were ensnared by Mueller’s investigation. Mary Clare Jalonick, The Seattle Times, "Democrats ask for Mueller files; GOP exclaims ‘Move on’," 25 Mar. 2019 Amir Belkacemi, the son of Khaled Belkacemi, said his father had come to Canada from Algeria in the 1990s to escape terrorism, only to become ensnared by violence here. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Quebec Mosque Shooter Was Consumed by Refugees, Trump and Far Right," 5 May 2018 In both adulation and disgust, the crowds ensnared him, baying for either a touch of their hero, or his blood. SI.com, "Diego Maradona Film Review: A Story of Humanity, Deity, Icarus & Football," 12 June 2019 For nearly two months, this besieged North African capital of more than 1 million people has been ensnared in its worst episode of violence since the toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi almost eight years ago. Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, "In a city of ever-shifting front lines, Libyans confront their worst fighting in years," 4 June 2019 The fashion designer turned 56 on Tuesday, three months after he and the Fuller House actress were charged in the scheme that has also ensnared high-profile figures like actress Felicity Huffman. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Inside Mossimo Giannulli's Alleged Involvement in the College Admissions Scandal as He Turns 56," 4 June 2019 Here's how Huffman, Macy, and their two daughters were ensnared in the landmark investigation. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy Became Involved the College Admissions Scandal," 13 Mar. 2019 Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh Mr. Manafort has been a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s wide-ranging probe of Russian election interference, which has ensnared the former campaign chairman and several other Trump associates. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Manhattan Prosecutors Pursuing Criminal Charges Against Paul Manafort," 22 Feb. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ensnare

1576, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ensnare

Statistics for ensnare

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ensnare

The first known use of ensnare was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up ensnare? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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