[ mous-trap ]
/ ˈmaʊsˌtræp /


a trap for mice, especially one consisting of a rectangular wooden base on which a metal spring is mounted.
a device, machine, or the like whose structure or function suggests a trap for mice.
a device, system, or stratagem for detecting and catching someone in an unauthorized or illegal act.
Football. trap1(def 11).

verb (used with object), mouse·trapped, mouse·trap·ping.

  1. to trap or snare: traffic cops mousetrapping drunken drivers.
  2. to manipulate by devious or clever means; trick or outwit: to mousetrap the witness into a contradiction.
Football. trap1(def 20).

Nearby words

  1. mousemat,
  2. mouseover,
  3. mousepox,
  4. mouser,
  5. mousetail,
  6. mousey,
  7. mousing,
  8. mousquetaire,
  9. moussaka,
  10. mousse


    build a better mousetrap, to make or offer a superior product.

Origin of mousetrap

First recorded in 1400–50, mousetrap is from the late Middle English word mous trappe. See mouse, trap1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mousetrap

British Dictionary definitions for mousetrap


/ (ˈmaʊsˌtræp) /


any trap for catching mice, esp one with a spring-loaded metal bar that is released by the taking of the bait
British informal cheese of indifferent quality
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 mousetrap



late 15c., from mouse (n.) + trap (n.). Figurative use from 1570s. The thing is older than the word. Old English had musfealle; Middle English had mouscacche (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper