mouse·​trap | \ ˈmau̇s-ˌtrap How to pronounce mousetrap (audio) \

Definition of mousetrap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a trap for mice
2 : a stratagem that lures one to defeat or destruction


mousetrapped; mousetrapping; mousetraps

Definition of mousetrap (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to snare in or as if in a mousetrap

Examples of mousetrap in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By the way, the best baits for mousetraps are peanut butter, soft gummy candy, wet dog food, and cheese, of course. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Rid of Common House Pests," 17 Feb. 2020 Sometimes companies get lucky, are smart about enlisting allies, or make a better mousetrap. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "No, the Best Doesn’t Win," 27 Apr. 2020 Not surprisingly, the mousetraps fire in rapid succession and trigger the traps next to them. Sarah Brookbank,, "Can a video of mousetraps and ping pong balls encourage people to stay socially distant?," 10 Apr. 2020 The next clip is nearly the same scene, but this time, the mousetraps are spread out and the single ping pong ball bounces through them safely. Sarah Brookbank,, "Can a video of mousetraps and ping pong balls encourage people to stay socially distant?," 10 Apr. 2020 In other words, having failed to make an adequate case to remove Mr. Trump, Democrats are trying to drag out impeachment to further tarnish his reputation and mousetrap Senate Republicans running for re-election. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pelosi’s Impeachment Offenses," 15 Jan. 2020 There’s always going to be incentive and temptation to build a better mousetrap by any means available. Globe Staff,, "Punishment for Astros shows MLB’s sign-stealing days are over — and the Red Sox are next," 13 Jan. 2020 Mystery writer and game aficionado Andrew Wyke invites his wife’s lover, Milo Tindle, to his mousetrap of a country estate for a dangerous game of one-upmanship that keeps audiences guessing through every cunning twist and turn. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Great Lakes Theater’s ‘The Music Man’ and ‘Julius Caesar’ spotlight con men and conspirators: Fall Theater Preview 2019," 29 Sep. 2019 That’s when the tension — abetted by mousetraps, a chain saw and monster tales — soars as high as Aaron’s beloved alps: An idyllic family vacation morphs into a quest for survival when Tristan disappears. New York Times, "The Week in Arts: Sarah Jessica Parker Back for More ‘Divorce’; a Farewell to ‘My Fair Lady’," 29 June 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mousetrap

Time Traveler for mousetrap

Time Traveler

The first known use of mousetrap was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mousetrap

Last Updated

8 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mousetrap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mousetrap


How to pronounce mousetrap (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mousetrap

: a small trap for catching mice

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mousetrap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mousetrap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mousetrap

Spanish Central: Translation of mousetrap

Nglish: Translation of mousetrap for Spanish Speakers

Comments on mousetrap

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!