1
as in ambush
a device or scheme for capturing another by surprise undercover agents devised a trap to catch the counterfeiters a bear trap

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2
as in ambushment
a setup in which hidden attackers lie in wait an overland route to the Far East that was once notorious for the many robbers who laid traps for unsuspecting wayfarers

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3
as in snare
something that catches and holds the promotion is really just a trap to keep her from taking a new job elsewhere

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4
as in mouth
slang the opening through which food passes into the body of an animal shut your trap before someone belts you one!

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trap

2 of 2

verb

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb trap contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of trap are bag, capture, catch, ensnare, entrap, and snare. While all these words mean "to come to possess or control by or as if by seizing," trap, snare, entrap, ensnare imply seizing by some device that holds the one caught at the mercy of the captor. trap and snare apply more commonly to physical seizing.

trap animals
snared butterflies with a net

When could bag be used to replace trap?

The words bag and trap can be used in similar contexts, but bag implies shooting down a fleeing or distant prey.

bagged a brace of pheasants

When is it sensible to use capture instead of trap?

While in some cases nearly identical to trap, capture suggests taking by overcoming resistance or difficulty.

capture an enemy stronghold

When might catch be a better fit than trap?

In some situations, the words catch and trap are roughly equivalent. However, catch implies the seizing of something in motion or in flight or in hiding.

caught the dog as it ran by

How do entrap and ensnare relate to one another, in the sense of trap?

Both entrap and ensnare more often are figurative.

entrapped the witness with a trick question
a sting operation that ensnared burglars

Thesaurus Entries Near trap

Cite this Entry

“Trap.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/trap. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

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