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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.
traps, Informal. personal belongings; baggage.
to furnish with or as with ; caparison.
any of various fine-grained, dark-colored igneous rocks having a more or less columnar structure, especially some form of basalt.
a ladder or ladderlike device used to reach a loft, attic, etc.
Contemporary Examples

The second trap is the idea that we should undo it all later on.
James K. Galbraith Champions The Beast Manifesto James K. Galbraith August 1, 2010

Workers responded by laboring harder and longer and bearing more children in a desperate attempt to outrun their Malthusian trap.
Answering a Murray Defender David Frum February 7, 2012

“We were happy when we sold a lot of records, but I think that’s such a trap,” says Robison.
The Dixie Chicks’ Stealth Comeback Lauren Streib May 2, 2010

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
Advice From Steve Jobs on Living and Dying Steve Jobs January 13, 2009

A plan must be put into place immediately, Frida insists: to trap the tiger and kill it.
Caught in Her Mind: Fiona McFarlane’s ‘The Night Guest’ Andrea Walker October 6, 2013

Historical Examples

Wide-eyed, he got lightly to his feet and started for the trap.
The Best Short Stories of 1920 Various

“Well, I hadn’t ought to complain about that trap,” came the answer.
With Trapper Jim in the North Woods Lawrence J. Leslie

The big ship was approaching rapidly; I felt as if we were caught in a trap.
Peter Biddulph W.H.G. Kingston

Besides, you two might like to watch how I set a trap to catch a fox.
With Trapper Jim in the North Woods Lawrence J. Leslie

I cannot believe the traders have brought Ohrante back to hunt and trap for them.
The Secret Cache E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill

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)

1. A program interrupt, usually an interrupt caused by some exceptional situation in the user program. In most cases, the OS performs some action, then returns control to the program.
2. To cause a trap. “These instructions trap to the monitor.” Also used transitively to indicate the cause of the trap. “The monitor traps all input/output instructions.”
This term is associated with assembler programming (“interrupt” or “exception” is more common among HLL programmers) and appears to be fading into history among programmers as the role of assembler continues to shrink. However, it is still important to computer architects and systems hackers (see system, sense 1), who use it to distinguish deterministically repeatable exceptions from timing-dependent ones (such as I/O interrupts).
[Jargon File]

fall into a trap
mind like a steel trap


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