from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A contrivance for catching and holding animals, as a concealed pit or a clamplike device that springs shut suddenly.
  • n. A stratagem for catching or tricking an unwary person.
  • n. A confining or undesirable circumstance from which escape or relief is difficult: fell into poverty's trap.
  • n. A device for sealing a passage against the escape of gases, especially a U-shaped or S-shaped bend in a drainpipe that prevents the return flow of sewer gas by means of a water barrier.
  • n. Sports A device that hurls clay pigeons into the air in trapshooting.
  • n. Sports A land hazard or bunker on a golf course; a sand trap.
  • n. Sports A measured length of roadway over which electronic timers register the speed of a racing vehicle, such as a dragster.
  • n. Baseball See web.
  • n. Sports A defensive strategy or play, as in basketball or hockey, in which two or more defenders converge on an offensive player shortly after the player gains possession of the ball or puck.
  • n. Sports The act of trapping a soccer ball.
  • n. Football A running play in which the ball carrier advances through a hole in the defensive line created by allowing a defensive lineman to penetrate the backfield.
  • n. A light two-wheeled carriage with springs.
  • n. A trapdoor.
  • n. Music Percussion instruments, such as snare drums and cymbals, especially in a jazz band.
  • n. Slang The human mouth.
  • transitive v. To catch in a trap; ensnare. See Synonyms at catch.
  • transitive v. To prevent from escaping or getting free: was trapped in the locked attic.
  • transitive v. To deceive or trick by mans of a scheme or plan.
  • transitive v. To seal off (gases) by a trap.
  • transitive v. To furnish with traps or a trap.
  • transitive v. Sports To catch (a ball) immediately after it has hit the ground.
  • transitive v. Sports To gain control of (a moving soccer ball) by allowing it to hit and bounce off a part of the body other than the arm or hand.
  • intransitive v. To set traps for game.
  • intransitive v. To engage in trapping furbearing animals.
  • n. Personal belongings or household goods. Often used in the plural.
  • transitive v. To furnish with trappings.
  • n. Any of several dark, fine-grained igneous rocks often used in making roads.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A trick or arrangement designed to catch someone in a more general sense.
  • n. A covering over a hole or opening; a trapdoor.
  • n. A wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball; the game of trapball itself.
  • n. Any device used to hold and suddenly release an object.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A place in a water pipe, pump, etc., where air accumulates for want of an outlet.
  • n. A light two-wheeled carriage with springs.
  • n. this sense?) A kind of movable stepladder.
  • n. A person's mouth.
  • n. belongings
  • n. Short for trapezius muscle in bodybuilding
  • n. Short for trapshooting.
  • n. this sense?) (slang, pejorative) A person who crossdresses as a female; a transvestite or transsexual.
  • n. An exception generated by the processor.
  • n. A mining license inspector during the Australian gold rush.
  • n. A residential building where drugs are manufactured or sold.
  • v. To catch in a trap or traps; as, to trap foxes.
  • v. To ensnare; to take by stratagem; to entrap.
  • v. To provide with a trap; as, to trap a drain; to trap a sewer pipe.
  • v. To set traps for game; to make a business of trapping game; as, to trap for beaver.
  • v. To leave suddenly, to flee.
  • v. (intransitive) To capture (e.g. an error) in order to handle or process it.
  • n. A dark coloured igneous rock, now used to designate any non-volcanic, non-granitic igneous rock; trap rock.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to trap rock.
  • n. An old term rather loosely used to designate various dark-colored, heavy igneous rocks, including especially the feldspathic-augitic rocks, basalt, dolerite, amygdaloid, etc., but including also some kinds of diorite. Called also trap rock.
  • n. A machine or contrivance that shuts suddenly, as with a spring, used for taking game or other animals.
  • n. Fig.: A snare; an ambush; a stratagem; any device by which one may be caught unawares.
  • n. A wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball. It consists of a pivoted arm on one end of which is placed the ball to be thrown into the air by striking the other end. Also, a machine for throwing into the air glass balls, clay pigeons, etc., to be shot at.
  • n. The game of trapball.
  • n. A bend, sag, or partitioned chamber, in a drain, soil pipe, sewer, etc., arranged so that the liquid contents form a seal which prevents passage of air or gas, but permits the flow of liquids.
  • n. A place in a water pipe, pump, etc., where air accumulates for want of an outlet.
  • n. A wagon, or other vehicle.
  • n. A kind of movable stepladder.
  • intransitive v. To set traps for game; to make a business of trapping game.
  • transitive v. To dress with ornaments; to adorn; -- said especially of horses.
  • transitive v. To catch in a trap or traps.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To insnare; to take by stratagem; to entrap.
  • transitive v. To provide with a trap. See 4th Trap, 5.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To catch in a trap: as. to trap foxes or beaver.
  • To insnare; take by stratagem: applied to persons.
  • To capture (fish) by means of a trap or trap-net.
  • To put in a trap and release to be shot at, as pigeons or glass balls.
  • In plumbing, to furnish with a trap.
  • Theat., to furnish (a stage) with the requisite traps for the plays to be performed.
  • To stop and hold, as the shuttle of a loom in the warp, or gas, a liquid, heat, etc., by an obstruction or impervious or sealed inclosure, as in the case of liquids or gases, or by insulating substances, as with heat or electricity; specifically, to stop and hold by a trap for the purpose of removing, as air carried forward by or entangled in water flowing through pipes, etc., water deposited from compressed atmospheric air when cooled, or condensed from steam in the passage of the latter through pipes, or air from pipes or receptacles into or through which steam is to be passed.
  • To set traps for game: as, to trap for beaver.
  • To handle or work the trap in a shooting-match.
  • To become stopped or impeded, as steam through accumulation of condensed water in a low part of a horizontal pipe, or in a steam-radiator by the presence of air which cannot escape, or the flow of water through a siphon by accumulation of air in the upper part of the bend, etc.
  • To furnish with trapping or ornamental housing, or necessary or usual harness or appurtenances, especially when these are of an ornamental character.
  • n. A contrivance, as a pitfall or some mechanical device that shuts suddenly, often by means of a spring, used for taking game and other animals.
  • n. A device for confining and suddenly releasing or tossing into the air objects to be shot at, as live pigeons or glass balls.
  • n. A kind of fish-net used especially in Narragansett Bay, consisting of an oblong inclosure of netting on three sides and at the bottom, anchored securely by the side of the channel.
  • n. A double-curved pipe, or a U-shaped section of a pipe, with or without valves, serving to form a water-seal to prevent the passage of air or gases through a pipe with which it is connected.
  • n. A piece of wood, somewhat in the shape of a shoe, hollowed at the heel, and moving on a pivot, in which the ball is placed in playing trap-ball; also, the game itself. See trap-ball.
  • n. A trap-door.
  • n. Any small complicated structure, especially one that is out of order; a rickety thing: so called in contempt. Compare rattletrap.
  • n. A carriage.
  • n. Any device or contrivance to betray one into speech or act, or to catch one unawares; an ambush; a stratagem.
  • n. Contrivance; craft.
  • n. A sheriff's officer, or a policeman.
  • n. A kind of movable ladder or steps; a ladder leading up to a loft.
  • n. In geology, any dark-colored rock having more or less of a columnar structure and apparently volcanic or eruptive in origin.
  • n. A horse-cloth; an ornamental cloth or housing for a horse; ornamental harness; a trapping: usually in the plural.
  • n. plural Belongings; appurtenances; impedimenta: used frequently of baggage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. something (often something deceptively attractive) that catches you unawares
  • n. the act of concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise
  • v. place in a confining or embarrassing position
  • v. catch in or as if in a trap
  • n. informal terms for the mouth
  • n. a device in which something (usually an animal) can be caught and penned
  • n. a hazard on a golf course
  • v. hold or catch as if in a trap
  • n. drain consisting of a U-shaped section of drainpipe that holds liquid and so prevents a return flow of sewer gas
  • n. a light two-wheeled carriage
  • v. to hold fast or prevent from moving
  • n. a device to hurl clay pigeons into the air for trapshooters


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English træppe.
Middle English trap, trapping, perhaps alteration of Old French drap, cloth, from Late Latin drappus.
Swedish trapp, from trappa, step, from Middle Low German trappe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English trappe, from Old English træppe, treppe ("trap, snare") (also in betræppan ("to trap")) from Proto-Germanic *trap-. Akin to Old High German trappa, trapa ("trap, snare"), Middle Dutch trappe ("trap, snare"), Middle Low German treppe ("step, stair") (German Treppe "step, stair"), Old English treppan ("to step, tread"). Connection to "step" is "that upon which one steps". French trappe and Spanish trampa are ultimately borrowings from Germanic.


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  • The two men in the mean time raised a great wooden trap, covered with earth and briars, to conceal the entrance of a long shelving passage under-ground, to which from habits the poor beasts took very kindly of their own accord. Their masters kept tight hold of me, and let the trap down after them.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 3

    September 12, 2008