en·​trap·​ment | \in-ˈtrap-mənt, 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

His quest is to end himself completely—no backups, no copies, no endless entrapment in Delos' servers. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real?," 25 June 2018 Such conduct includes investigative or prosecutorial efforts that appear, under the totality of the circumstances, to be motivated by corruption, bias or entrapment. David B. Rivkin Jr. And Elizabeth Price Foley, WSJ, "Mueller’s Fruit of the Poisonous Tree," 22 June 2018 Cassius’ thrilling escape from drudgery and poverty reveals itself as simply a more insidious form of entrapment, one that sends poisonous tendrils into every corner of his life. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Boots Riley's 'Sorry to Bother You' is an arrestingly surreal satire on class rage and cultural identity," 5 July 2018 Defense lawyers said their clients were victims of government entrapment, tricked into self-incriminating acts, but had no intent to commit crimes. Robert D. Mcfadden, BostonGlobe.com, "Mel Weinberg, 93, con man portrayed in ‘American Hustle’," 10 June 2018 So, yes, that's entrapment, and that's something that we're not supposed to be involved with. Fox News, "Sen. Rand Paul: Why have we been in Afghanistan 17 years?," 7 June 2018 The special traces their plight from their entrapment to the last rescue, 18 days later. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Operation Thai Cave Rescue’ and Jim Jefferies," 13 July 2018 And allowing themselves to be touched? Reeks of entrapment. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Was there something fishy about Stormy Daniels’s arrest?," 12 July 2018 Those dioramas, which once served as a therapeutic outlet, become a striking metaphor for a family’s entrapment. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Hereditary' is a new horror classic, and a triumph for Toni Collette," 7 June 2018

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

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about entrapment

Share entrapment

Statistics for entrapment

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for entrapment

The first known use of entrapment was in 1597

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- \

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!