en·​trap·​ment | \ in-ˈtrap-mənt How to pronounce entrapment (audio) , en-\

Definition of entrapment

1a : the action or process of entrapping
b : the condition of being entrapped
2 : the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it
3 medical : chronic compression of a peripheral nerve (such as the median nerve) usually between ligamentous and bony surfaces that is marked by pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness

Examples of entrapment in a Sentence

her entrapment in an unhappy marriage His lawyer argued that he was a victim of police entrapment.

Recent Examples on the Web

Mattachine-New York helped end policies permitting police entrapment. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "How the Stonewall riots inspired today's Pride celebrations," 28 June 2019 Those who fall into swift water should not attempt to stand up, as doing so could result in a foot entrapment. Longmont Times-call, The Denver Post, "Officials warn some Colorado waterways running high," 8 June 2019 This is the groaning game, an inept tale of danger, entrapment and dismemberment. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Greta’ Review: Big Names, Small Chills," 28 Feb. 2019 It might be said that entrapment cases are a Rorschach test of a society’s obsessions and fears at any given time. Laura Kipnis, The New York Review of Books, "Laura Kipnis," 28 June 2018 Despite the claims, experts say that crib bumpers are a hazard, increasing the risks of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "Are Crib Bumpers Safe? Experts Say Not Even Those "Breathable" Mesh Ones Should Be Used," 29 Apr. 2019 But storage chests can also result in entrapment and suffocation. Beth Anne Macaluso, Redbook, "16 Common Household Items That Could Kill You," 9 Aug. 2017 But Hussain’s work also came under attack by defense attorneys and civil liberties groups as entrapment. Tom Hays, The Seattle Times, "Limo company owner was a controversial FBI informant," 9 Oct. 2018 Graco Children's Products is announcing the recall of about 2 million Graco strollers due to risk of entrapment and strangulation. Jasmin Radoncic, Good Housekeeping, "Recall Alert: Graco Strollers," 20 Oct. 2010

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'entrapment.' 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 entrapment

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about entrapment

Statistics for entrapment

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for entrapment

The first known use of entrapment was in 1609

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for entrapment



English Language Learners Definition of entrapment

: the act of entrapping someone or something or the condition of being entrapped
: the illegal act of tricking someone into committing a crime so that the person you have tricked can be arrested


en·​trap·​ment | \ in-ˈtrap-mənt, en- How to pronounce entrapment (audio) \

Medical Definition of entrapment

: chronic compression of a peripheral nerve (as the median nerve or ulnar nerve) usually between ligamentous and bony surfaces that is characterized especially by pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness



Legal Definition of entrapment

1 : the action or process of entrapping
2 : the state or condition of being entrapped also : the affirmative defense of having been entrapped by a government agent (as an officer or informant) — see also predispose

Note: Entrapment is available as a defense only when an agent of the state or federal government has provided the encouragement or inducement. This defense is sometimes allowed in administrative proceedings (as for the revocation of a license to practice medicine) as well as criminal proceedings. In order to establish entrapment, the defendant has the burden of proving either that he or she would not have committed the crime but for the undue persuasion or fraud of the government agent, or that the encouragement was such that it created a risk that persons not inclined to commit the crime would commit it, depending on the jurisdiction. When entrapment is pleaded, evidence (as character evidence) regarding the defendant that might otherwise have been excluded is allowed to be admitted.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on entrapment

Spanish Central: Translation of entrapment

Nglish: Translation of entrapment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of entrapment for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about entrapment

Comments on entrapment

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!