- a contrivance used for catching game or other animals, as a mechanical device that springs shut suddenly.
- any device, stratagem, trick, or the like for catching a person unawares.
- any of various devices for removing undesirable substances from a moving fluid, vapor, etc., as water from steam or cinders from coal gas.
- Also called air trap. an arrangement in a pipe, as a double curve or a U-shaped section, in which liquid remains and forms a seal for preventing the passage or escape of air or of gases through the pipe from behind or below.
- traps, the percussion instruments of a jazz or dance band.
- Trapshooting, Skeet. a device for hurling clay pigeons into the air.
- the piece of wood, shaped somewhat like a shoe hollowed at the heel, and moving on a pivot, used in playing the game of trapball.
- the game of trapball.
- Sports. an act or instance of trapping a ball.
- Also called mousetrap, trap play. Football. a play in which a defensive player, usually a guard or tackle, is allowed by the team on offense to cross the line of scrimmage into the backfield and is then blocked out from the side, thereby letting the ball-carrier run through the opening in the line.
- Slang. mouth: Keep your trap shut.
- Chiefly British. a carriage, especially a light, two-wheeled one.
- to catch in a trap; ensnare: to trap foxes.
- to catch by stratagem, artifice, or trickery.
- to furnish or set with traps.
- to provide (a drain or the like) with a trap.
- to stop and hold by a trap, as air in a pipe.
- Sports. to catch (a ball) as it rises after having just hit the ground.
- Football. to execute a trap against (a defensive player).
- to set traps for game: He was busy trapping.
- to engage in the business of trapping animals for their furs.
- Trapshooting, Skeet. to work the trap.
Origin of trap1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for trap on Thesaurus.com
- traps, Informal. personal belongings; baggage.
- to furnish with or as with trappings; caparison.
Origin of trap2
- any of various fine-grained, dark-colored igneous rocks having a more or less columnar structure, especially some form of basalt.
Origin of trap3
- a ladder or ladderlike device used to reach a loft, attic, etc.
Origin of trap4
Examples from the Web for traps
In November, Maine voters will vote on whether to ban using dogs, traps, and bait to hunt black bears in the Pine Tree State.America’s Most Important (and Wackiest) Referendums This November
October 22, 2014
As I kept making different sketches, I thought it might be more colorful if these traps were lit up for the holidays.New England’s Crazy Christmas Tree Tradition
Condé Nast Traveler
December 21, 2013
When a fish swims toward the promised land, she clamps her legs closed and traps it.‘Naked and Afraid’ Is the Craziest Show on TV—You Just Have to Watch
July 2, 2013
It is only what is left over after the cooking that ends up in the traps.Janesville, Wisconsin, Paul Ryan’s Hometown, Plagued by Grease Thieves
October 11, 2012
I felt that the draw of the money and the fame and all that goes along with that lifestyle were traps for me in my life.Two California Women Turn Themselves Into Real-Life Versions of Thelma and Louise
January 7, 2012
I'd been figurin' and schemin' all autumn how to get my traps before the winter comes on.Way of the Lawless
The others had returned, and were all busily engaged with the trophies of the traps.With Trapper Jim in the North Woods
Lawrence J. Leslie
"I wish you'd let me teach you," he said to her, beginning to put his traps together.
But I was so certain you wouldn't that I didn't bring any of my traps.
His idea was to build a series of traps all about the barn, covering every approach.Frank Roscoe's Secret
- belongings; luggage
- a mechanical device or enclosed place or pit in which something, esp an animal, is caught or penned
- any device or plan for tricking a person or thing into being caught unawares
- anything resembling a trap or prison
- a fitting for a pipe in the form of a U-shaped or S-shaped bend that contains standing water to prevent the passage of gases
- any similar device
- a device that hurls clay pigeons into the air to be fired at by trapshooters
- any one of a line of boxlike stalls in which greyhounds are enclosed before the start of a race
- See trap door
- a light two-wheeled carriage
- a slang word for mouth
- golf an obstacle or hazard, esp a bunker
- (plural) jazz slang percussion instruments
- (usually plural) Australian obsolete, slang a policeman
- (tr) to catch, take, or pen in or as if in a trap; entrap
- (tr) to ensnare by trickery; trick
- (tr) to provide (a pipe) with a trap
- to set traps in (a place), esp for animals
- an obsolete word for trappings (def. 2)
- (tr often foll by out) to dress or adorn
- any fine-grained often columnar dark igneous rock, esp basalt
- any rock in which oil or gas has accumulated
Word Origin and History for traps
"expanse of dark igneous rock," 1794, from Swedish trapp (1766), from trappa "stair," related to Middle Low German trappe "staircase" (see trap (n.)). So called from the step-like appearance of the rock.
"drums, cymbals, bells, etc.," 1925, from earlier trap drummer (1903) "street musician who plays a drum and several other instruments at once," perhaps from traps "belongings" (1813), shortened form of trappings.
"contrivance for catching unawares," late Old English træppe "snare, trap," from Proto-Germanic *trap- (cf. Middle Dutch trappe "trap, snare"), related to Germanic words for "stair, step, tread" (cf. Middle Dutch, Middle Low German trappe, treppe, German Treppe "step, stair"). Probably akin to Old French trape, Spanish trampa "trap, pit, snare," but the exact relationship is uncertain. The connecting notion seems to be "that on which an animal steps." Sense of "deceitful practice, trickery" is first recorded c.1400. Sense in speed trap recorded from 1906. Slang meaning "mouth" is from 1776. Trap door "door in a floor or ceiling" (often hidden and leading to a passageway or secret place) is first attested late 14c.
c.1400, "ensnare (an animal), catch in a trap; encircle; capture," from trap (n.) or from Old English betræppan. Figurative use is slightly earlier (late 14c.). Related: Trapped; trapping.
Idioms and Phrases with traps
see fall into a trap; mind like a steel trap.