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[rat-trap] /ˈrætˌtræp/
a device for catching rats.
a run-down, filthy, or dilapidated place.
a difficult, involved, or entangling situation.
Origin of rattrap
1425-75; late Middle English. See rat, trap1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rat-trap
Historical Examples
  • The visiting-room of Regina Cœli is constructed on the principle of a rat-trap.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Pray God she does not slay a score of us in this rat-trap by her first shot.

    In the Days of Drake J. S. Fletcher
  • I knew not much of the world, but I knew enough to wish myself out of this rat-trap.

    Kilgorman Talbot Baines Reed
  • Cinderella brought the rat-trap, in which there were three large rats.

    Little Cinderella Anonymous
  • Father told me to keep away from a rat-trap that he had bought.

    The Making of Bobby Burnit George Randolph Chester
  • But I had a good look at you, there in your friend's old Devonshire rat-trap.

    The Brightener C. N. Williamson
  • And where there was a rat-trap, Klaus Heinrich, there were also rats….

    Royal Highness Thomas Mann
  • Cinderella brought her the rat-trap, in which there were three large rats.

    Tales of Passed Times Charles Perrault
  • Cinderella brought in the rat-trap, which contained three big rats.

    Old-Time Stories Charles Perrault
  • I paced my bird-cage until it shrank to the size of a rat-trap.

    Simon the Jester William J. Locke
British Dictionary definitions for rat-trap


a device for catching rats
(informal) a type of bicycle pedal having serrated steel foot pads and a toe clip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rat-trap

late 15c., from rat (n.) + trap (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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