a contrivance used for catching game or other animals, as a mechanical device that springs shut suddenly.
any device, stratagem, trick, or the like for catching a person unawares.
any of various devices for removing undesirable substances from a moving fluid, vapor, etc., as water from steam or cinders from coal gas.
Also called air trap. an arrangement in a pipe, as a double curve or a U -shaped section, in which liquid remains and forms a seal for preventing the passage or escape of air or of gases through the pipe from behind or below.
traps, the percussion instruments of a jazz or dance band.
Trapshooting, Skeet. a device for hurling clay pigeons into the air.
the piece of wood, shaped somewhat like a shoe hollowed at the heel, and moving on a pivot, used in playing the game of .
the game of .
Sports. an act or instance of trapping a ball.
Also called mousetrap, trap play. Football. a play in which a defensive player, usually a guard or tackle, is allowed by the team on offense to cross the line of scrimmage into the backfield and is then blocked out from the side, thereby letting the ball-carrier run through the opening in the line.
Slang. mouth:
Keep your trap shut.
Chiefly British. a carriage, especially a light, two-wheeled one.
to catch in a trap; ensnare:
to trap foxes.
to catch by stratagem, artifice, or trickery.
to furnish or set with traps.
to provide (a drain or the like) with a trap.
to stop and hold by a trap, as air in a pipe.
Sports. to catch (a ball) as it rises after having just hit the ground.
Football. to execute a trap against (a defensive player).
to set traps for game:
He was busy trapping.
to engage in the business of trapping animals for their furs.
Trapshooting, Skeet. to work the trap.
Historical Examples

It is, on the whole, advisable to make the pump of flint glass, or at all events the air-trap tube and the fall tubes.
On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall

a mechanical device or enclosed place or pit in which something, esp an animal, is caught or penned
any device or plan for tricking a person or thing into being caught unawares
anything resembling a trap or prison
a fitting for a pipe in the form of a U-shaped or S-shaped bend that contains standing water to prevent the passage of gases
any similar device
a device that hurls clay pigeons into the air to be fired at by trapshooters
any one of a line of boxlike stalls in which greyhounds are enclosed before the start of a race
See trap door
a light two-wheeled carriage
a slang word for mouth
(golf) an obstacle or hazard, esp a bunker
(pl) (jazz, slang) percussion instruments
(usually pl) (Austral, obsolete, slang) a policeman
verb traps, trapping, trapped
(transitive) to catch, take, or pen in or as if in a trap; entrap
(transitive) to ensnare by trickery; trick
(transitive) to provide (a pipe) with a trap
to set traps in (a place), esp for animals
an obsolete word for trappings (sense 2)
verb traps, trapping, trapped
(transitive) often foll by out. to dress or adorn
any fine-grained often columnar dark igneous rock, esp basalt
any rock in which oil or gas has accumulated

“contrivance for catching unawares,” late Old English træppe “snare, trap,” from Proto-Germanic *trap- (cf. Middle Dutch trappe “trap, snare”), related to Germanic words for “stair, step, tread” (cf. Middle Dutch, Middle Low German trappe, treppe, German Treppe “step, stair”). Probably akin to Old French trape, Spanish trampa “trap, pit, snare,” but the exact relationship is uncertain. The connecting notion seems to be “that on which an animal steps.” Sense of “deceitful practice, trickery” is first recorded c.1400. Sense in speed trap recorded from 1906. Slang meaning “mouth” is from 1776. Trap door “door in a floor or ceiling” (often hidden and leading to a passageway or secret place) is first attested late 14c.

c.1400, “ensnare (an animal), catch in a trap; encircle; capture,” from trap (n.) or from Old English betræppan. Figurative use is slightly earlier (late 14c.). Related: Trapped; trapping.


A car; transportation (1970s+ Black teenagers)

fall into a trap
mind like a steel trap


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