en·​trap·​ment in-ˈtrap-mənt How to pronounce entrapment (audio)
: the action or process of entrapping
: the condition of being entrapped
: the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it
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 Just why the New Orleans police (the real Gary Johnson operated in Houston) would want to spend their time nabbing these people, in what amounts to a highly questionable form of entrapment, remains a bit fuzzy. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 5 Sep. 2023 The official diagnosis: popliteal artery entrapment syndrome. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Aug. 2023 Other entrapment hazards lurk, including old buildings that are falling apart and concrete structures that are cracking open. Smithsonian Magazine, 10 July 2023 As of Monday, state police troopers had administered whole blood to 23 trauma patients, many of whom were victims of motor vehicle crashes, gunshots or entrapment under heavy machinery. Angela Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 21 Aug. 2023 So heed this advice from the AAP: Keep any items that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of your baby's crib. Erica Jackson Curran, Parents, 5 July 2023 Extremism monitors point to cases undermined by informants who turned out to be dangerous, flaky or seen as crossing the line between investigation and entrapment. Hannah Allam, Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2023 Another step forward • Right-hander Beau Brieske (right ulnar nerve entrapment) is scheduled to throw a live batting practice Wednesday in Lakeland, Florida, home of the Tigers' spring training complex. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 23 May 2023 The video shows images of the aftermath following the bear's entrapment. Sydney Borchers, Fox News, 3 June 2023 See More

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

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of entrapment was in 1609

Dictionary Entries Near entrapment

Cite this Entry

“Entrapment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrapment. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


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


: the action or process of entrapping
: 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.

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