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

Viewed in one light, dating apps look like a brilliant mousetrap. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "HBO's 'Swiped' Argues That Silicon Valley Must Fix the Dating Mess It Created," 10 Sep. 2018 The policy was well-intended: A foreigner who invents a better mousetrap should be encouraged to stay. Paul Donnelly, WSJ, "Give Immigrant Entrepreneurs Green Cards, Not ‘Parole’," 11 June 2018 Asked to name one area where he's learned to build a better figurative mousetrap, Cooter pointed to nuances within his playbook like running a route at a 14-yard depth instead of 12 yards. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Jim Bob Cooter expects improved offense, play calling," 29 May 2018 Speaking over cocktails at Shanghai's panoramic VUE Bar, which overlooks the historic riverfront area where Viking Sun is docked, Hagen suggests Viking has built a better mousetrap. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "River cruise giant Viking soon could dominate upscale ocean cruising, too," 12 Mar. 2018 The better mousetrap is not built for a day, but to endure. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "John Calipari's formula may need an adjustment | Tim Sullivan," 17 Feb. 2018 Who knew the best mousetrap was invented over 400 years ago? Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Brilliant Simplicity of a 400-Year-Old Mousetrap," 28 Dec. 2017 The coder crowd has gotten better and better at making mousetraps that get, as if by magic overnight, faster and smarter. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Tech Dissatisfaction, Version 99.0," 23 Jan. 2018 Among his many mousetrap designs is one involved a bowl and a tool called a fillboll. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The Brilliant Simplicity of a 400-Year-Old Mousetrap," 28 Dec. 2017

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

Statistics for mousetrap

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mousetrap

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mousetrap



English Language Learners Definition of mousetrap

: a small trap for catching mice

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
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!