AskDefine | Define trap

Dictionary Definition



1 a device in which something (usually an animal) can be caught and penned
2 drain consisting of a U-shaped section of drainpipe that holds liquid and so prevents a return flow of sewer gas
3 something (often something deceptively attractive) that catches you unawares; "the exam was full of trap questions"; "it was all a snare and delusion" [syn: snare]
4 a device to hurl clay pigeons into the air for trapshooters
5 the act of concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise [syn: ambush, ambuscade, lying in wait]
6 informal terms for the mouth [syn: cakehole, hole, maw, yap, gob]
7 a light two-wheeled carriage
8 a hazard on a golf course [syn: bunker, sand trap]


1 place in a confining or embarrassing position; "He was trapped in a difficult situation"
2 catch in or as if in a trap; "The men trap foxes" [syn: entrap, snare, ensnare, trammel]
3 hold or catch as if in a trap; "The gaps between the teeth trap food particles"
4 to hold fast or prevent from moving; "The child was pinned under the fallen tree" [syn: pin, immobilize, immobilise] [also: trapping, trapped]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /træp/
  • Rhymes with: -æp

Etymology 1

træppe (in coletræppe), treppe, of uncertain ultimate origin. Cognate with French trappe, Spanish trampa.


  1. A machine or other device designed to catch (and sometimes kill) animals, either by holding them in a container, or by catching hold of part of the body.
    I put down some traps in my apartment to try and deal with the mouse problem.
  2. A trick or arrangement designed to catch someone in a more general sense.
    Unfortunately she fell into the trap of confusing biology with destiny.
  3. A covering over a hole or opening; a trapdoor.
    Close the trap, would you, before someone falls and breaks their neck.
  4. A wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball; the game of trapball itself.
  5. Any device used to hold and suddenly release an object.
    They shot out of the school gates like greyhounds out of the trap.
  6. A bend, sag, or other device in a waste-pipe arranged so that the liquid contents form a seal which prevents the escape of noxious gases, but permits the flow of liquids.
  7. A place in a water pipe, pump, etc., where air accumulates for want of an outlet.
  8. A light two-wheeled carriage with springs.
    Have James prepare the trap – I wish to visit the parson.
  9. A kind of movable stepladder.
  10. A persons' mouth.
    To ask a person not to reveal any information
    Keep your trap shut.
  11. (plural) belongings
    ...his cabin-mates in Montana losing small valuables from time to time, until at last, these things having been invariably found on Mr. Twain's person or in his "trunk" (newspaper he rolled his traps in)...
  12. slang pejorative A transvestite, a man that one engages in a relationship with, believing him to be a woman.
    I saw your brother asking a trap out last night at the bar!
device designed to catch or kill animals
  • Czech: past, léčka
  • Finnish: ansa, loukku
  • French: piège, collet
  • Hungarian: csapda
  • Japanese: (, wana)
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: ته‌ڵه‌
  • Portuguese: armadilha
  • Russian: ловушка, западня, капкан (leghold trap), силок (noose trap)
trick or arrangement designed to catch someone in a more general sense
  • Finnish: ansa
  • French: piège, traquenard, souricière
  • Irish: dol
  • Japanese: (, wana)
  • Russian: ловушка, западня
covering over a hole or opening; a trapdoor
  • French: trappe
  • Português: alçapão
  • Russian: люк
wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball; the game of trapball itself
device used to hold and suddenly release an object
bend, sag, or other device in a waste-pipe to prevent the escape of noxious gases
place in a water pipe, pump, etc., where air accumulates for want of an outlet
(historical) light two-wheeled carriage with springs
  • French: charrette anglaise
kind of movable stepladder
slang: mouth
  • French: gueule
  • Finnish: tavarat
slang: transvestite


  1. To catch in a trap or traps; as, to trap foxes.
  2. To ensnare; to take by stratagem; to entrap.
  3. To provide with a trap; as, to trap a drain; to trap a sewer pipe.
  4. To set traps for game; to make a business of trapping game; as, to trap for beaver.
  5. To leave suddenly, to flee.
(transitive) to catch in a trap or traps; as, to trap foxes
  • Finnish: ansastaa
(transitive) to ensnare; to take by stratagem; to entrap
(transitive) to provide with a trap; as, to trap a drain; to trap a sewer pipe.
(intransitive) to set traps for game; to make a business of trapping game; as, to trap for beaver.
(intransitive) to leave suddenly, to flee

Related terms

Etymology 2

From trapp, from trappa ‘stair’.


  1. A dark coloured igneous rock, now used to designate any non-volcanic, non-granitic igneous rock; trap rock.


  1. Of or pertaining to trap rock; as, a trap dike.




trap (plural: trappen, diminutive: trapje)


  1. first person singular present tense of trappen

Extensive Definition

A trap is a device or tactic intended to harm, capture, detect, or inconvenience a human or animal intruder, or animal pest or game. Traps may be physical objects, such as cages or snares, or metaphorical concepts.

Physical traps

Examples of physical traps include:

Metaphorical traps

Examples of metaphorical or conceptual traps include:
  • Canary trap, a method for exposing an information leak
  • High level equilibrium trap, a concept used to explain why China never underwent an indigenous Industrial Revolution
  • Honey trap, a form of sting operation in law enforcement
  • Liquidity trap, a concept in economics involving a stagnant economy and low interest rates
  • Speed trap, a tactic designed to catch speed limit violators; it may also refer to a place where such a tactic is commonly used
  • Verbal trap, a statement or question phrased in such a way that any valid response would imply something the responder does not intend. See also Trick question
  • Welfare trap, a phenomenon by which social policies interact to keep people dependent on welfare; related concepts include the unemployment trap and poverty trap
  • Chemical trap, a chemical compound responsible for capturing an elusive molecule.

Other meanings

Other meanings of the word trap include:
  • "To fall for the trap," meaning to have your initial plan or goal be disrupted by an obstacle or "trap"
  • In urban/hip hop culture a trap refers to a trap house: a place where drugs are sold; a trap can be an area or neighborhood dominated by a drug economy and culture.
  • In bodybuilding, a nickname for the trapezius muscle
  • In biochemistry, TRAP is an abbreviation for tartrate resistant acid phosphatase
  • In computing and operating systems, a trap is a programming code or signal designed to capture errors and reveal where they are. More specifically, a processor-generated exception, usually resulting in a switch into kernel mode
  • In electronics, a filter used to block a range of frequencies
  • Traps, a common name for elevated topographic features made out of basalt, an igneous rock
  • Traprock, a common name for basalt, an igneous rock
  • In geology, a rock formation in which water, salt or hydrocarbons may collect
  • In horseriding, a device which attaches a carriage to a pony
  • In role-playing games, a type of obstacle often used in dungeons
  • In anime culture, a male crossdresser whose cross-dressing is so convincing that he is often mistaken for a real girl.
  • In the narcotics industry, an area where drugs are bought and sold in an open-air street market. People who are major drug dealers in a trap are known as "Trap Stars"
  • Trap (plumbing), a U-shaped pipe located below a drain; also called a water seal
  • Trap (poker), a poker strategy
  • In color printing, where inks of different colours have been overlapped to mask registration problems. The process is called spreading and choking
  • Also in color printing, when one ink dries too much, which stops the following colors being absorbed into the paper. It leaves a mottled effect.
  • In shooting sports, the activity of trap shooting, a clay target shooting sport; also, specifically the Olympic Trap event; also, the device which launches the clays
  • In relationships, a member who manages to ensnare the other, through emotional or sexual manipulation, so as to prevent them from ending the relationship.
  • Trap (carriage),
    • a light two- or four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage
    • a similar early automobile
  • A meme from the internet describing a man who is intending to look like an attractive woman or a pre-op male to female transsexual. Females crossdressing as males or pre-op female to male transsexuals are often referred to as reverse traps. Some consider this usage of the word to be offensive.
  • A trap room, part of a theater.
  • In naval aviation, a trap is a shipboard arrested landing.

Related terms

In American Football

  • Trap Play A Trap play in American Football is an offensive play where the ball is carried up either side of the center of the Line of Scrimmage. It differs from a Dive play in that the onside, or playside, guard moves out of the way and the offside, or side of the line that the play isn't going to, crosses behind the center and blindsides the defensive tackle that comes through the gap. This play works especially well when the opposing defensive line has considerable size on the offensive line.

Place names


  • Trap, nickname for Giovanni Trapattoni, Italian soccer manager.

See also

trap in German: Falle
trap in Spanish: Trampa
trap in French: Piège
trap in Korean: 트랩
trap in Italian: Trappola
trap in Japanese: トラップ
trap in Portuguese: Armadilha
trap in Albanian: Gracka

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dionaea, French door, John Law, allure, allurement, ambuscade, ambush, ambushment, archway, artifice, back door, bag, bait, bait the hook, baited trap, barway, bazoo, beguile, birdlime, blind, bobby, booby trap, bulkhead, bull, carriage entrance, catch, catch out, catch up, cellar door, cellarway, chaps, charm, chops, come-on, confine, conspiracy, constable, deadfall, deathtrap, deceive, deception, decoy, decoy duck, device, door, doorjamb, doorpost, doorway, drawcard, drawing card, dupe, embouchure, endearment, enmesh, ensnare, ensnarl, entangle, enticement, entoil, entrap, enweb, face, feint, firetrap, flytrap, fool, foul, front door, gab, gambit, gate, gatepost, gateway, gendarme, gin, gob, ground bait, harpoon, hatch, hatchway, hold, hook, hook in, imprison, intrigue, inveigle, inveiglement, jaw, jaws, jowls, keep, kisser, land, lasso, lime, lintel, lips, lock, lure, lurking hole, machination, mandibles, maneuver, maw, maxilla, mesh, mine, mole trap, mousetrap, mouth, mug, mush, muzzle, nail, net, noose, oral cavity, paddy, peeler, pitfall, plot, ploy, police, porch, portal, porte cochere, postern, premaxilla, propylaeum, pylon, rattrap, rope, row, ruse, sack, scuttle, seducement, set gun, shadowing, side door, snag, snare, snarl, sniggle, spear, spread the toils, spring gun, springe, stalking-horse, stile, storm door, stratagem, subterfuge, surveillance, take, tangle, tangle up with, temptation, threshold, tollgate, trap door, trapfall, trick, trip, turnpike, turnstile, wile, wind, yap
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