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verb (used with object), en·trapped, en·trap·ping.
  1. to catch in or as in a trap; ensnare: The hunters used nets to entrap the lion.
  2. to bring unawares into difficulty or danger: He entrapped himself in the web of his own lies.
  3. to lure into performing an act or making a statement that is compromising or illegal.
  4. to draw into contradiction or damaging admission: The questioner entrapped her into an admission of guilt.
  5. Law. to catch by entrapment.
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Origin of entrap

From the Middle French word entraper, dating back to 1525–35. See en-1, trap1
Related formsen·trap·per, nounen·trap·ping·ly, adverbun·en·trapped, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for entrapping

Historical Examples

  • There could be no entrapping such an animal, and the Indian did not attempt it.

    In Search of the Castaways

    Jules Verne

  • The idea of entrapping her into a meeting with him is abhorrent to him.

    April's Lady

    Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

  • Other methods of entrapping insects may also be pursued with success.

  • Some I shake so as to make sure of entrapping cold air in them.

    How We Think

    John Dewey

  • The colonel had paused, as he perceived the completeness of the lawyer's entrapping.

    Sons and Fathers

    Harry Stillwell Edwards

British Dictionary definitions for entrapping


verb -traps, -trapping or -trapped (tr)
  1. to catch or snare in or as if in a trap
  2. to lure or trick into danger, difficulty, or embarrassment
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Derived Formsentrapper, noun
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 entrapping



1530s, intrappe, from Old French entraper "trap, catch in a trap;" see en- (1) + trap (v.). Related: Entrapped; entrapping.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper