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  1. a person who ensnares or entraps others.
  2. a stratagem; a trap.
verb (used with object), tre·panned, tre·pan·ning.
  1. to ensnare or entrap.
  2. to entice.
  3. to cheat or swindle.
Also tra·pan [truh-pan] /trəˈpæn/.

Origin of trepan2

1635–45; earlier trapan, equivalent to trap1 + -an < ?
Related formstrep·a·na·tion, trap·a·na·tion [trep-uh-ney-shuh n] /ˌtrɛp əˈneɪ ʃən/, nountre·pan·ner, tra·pan·ner, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for trapan


verb, noun -pans, -panning or -panned
  1. a variant spelling of trepan 1 (def. 2)
Derived Formstrapanner, noun


  1. surgery an instrument resembling a carpenter's brace and bit formerly used to remove circular sections of bone (esp from the skull)Compare trephine
  2. a tool for cutting out circular blanks or for making grooves around a fixed centre
    1. the operation of cutting a hole with such a tool
    2. the hole so produced
verb -pans, -panning or -panned (tr)
  1. to cut (a hole or groove) with a trepan
  2. surgery another word for trephine
Derived Formstrepanation (ˌtrɛpəˈneɪʃən), nountrepanner, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin trepanum rotary saw, from Greek trupanon auger, from trupan to bore, from trupa a hole


trapan (trəˈpæn)

verb -pans, -panning or -panned (tr)
  1. to entice, ensnare, or entrap
  2. to swindle or cheat
  1. a person or thing that traps

Word Origin

C17: of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for trapan



c.1400, from French trépaner (14c.), from Medieval Latin trepanum "a saw for cutting out small pieces of bone from the skull," from Greek trypanon, from trypan "to bore," related to trype "hole" (cf. Old Church Slavonic truplu "hollow"), from PIE root *tere- "to rub, turn" (see throw). Related: Trepanned; trepanning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

trapan in Medicine


  1. A trephine.
  1. To trephine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.