trip wire


Definition of trip wire

1 : a low-placed concealed wire used especially in warfare to trip an enemy or trespasser and usually to trigger an alarm or explosive device when moved
2 : something (such as a small military force) intended to function like a trip wire (as to set a larger military force in motion)

Examples of trip wire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Some neighbors reported they had been told the explosion was the result of a trip wire, but police would not confirm any details of the blast Sunday night. Jeremy Schwartz, ajc, "Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month," 19 Mar. 2018 The team charged with the peace negotiations doesn’t want to add a possible trip wire for Mr. Netanyahu into the run-up to elections and could hold off on putting the proposals forward. Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Israeli Government Crisis Raises Fresh Doubts for U.S. Peace Plan," 19 Nov. 2018 As far back as the Book of Genesis, when Jacob’s soon-to-be father-in-law tricked him into marrying the wrong daughter, in-laws have been universally acknowledged trip wires. Alessandra Stanley, Town & Country, "New Solutions for Managing the Most Troublesome In-Laws," 19 Oct. 2018 Since then, the bomber’s method has changed – on Sunday, two young men were injured after activating a trip wire; and another explosion occurred early Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center outside of San Antonio. Elaine Aradillas,, "Terror in Austin: Ex-FBI Profiler Who Helped Catch Unabomber Says First Bomb 'Sent a Message'," 20 Mar. 2018 The qualitative release next week remains a potential tripping wire for large banks that are well-capitalized but have faced rebukes from regulators on other aspects of their operations, including consumer harm. Telis Demos, WSJ, "Big Banks Clear Fed’s Stress Tests," 21 June 2018 During the Cold War, a US army mountain outpost in the Fulda Gap, the shortest route between East and West Germany, served as an early warning trip wire for a Soviet invasion of Europe. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018 At his new Middle Eastern restaurant in the Arts District, Bavel (the name’s based on a biblical tower) the Bestia chef oversees an operation that’s as tight as a trip wire and powered by an industrial-size reserve of fire and salt. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "Restaurant Review: Ori Menashe’s Bavel Pushes Mideast Cuisine to New Heights," 21 June 2018 The night of March 18, around 8:30 p.m., a fourth explosion -- possibly triggered by a trip wire -- occurred. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Austin package bomb attacks timeline," 21 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trip wire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trip wire

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for trip wire

Last Updated

30 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for trip wire

The first known use of trip wire was in 1915

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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