• IPA: /tɹæp/, [tɹ̥æp], [tʃɹ̥æp]
  • (Northern English) IPA: [t̠ɹ̝̊äp]


  1. A machine or other device designed to catch (and sometimes kill) animals, either by holding them in a container, or by catching hold of part of the body.
    Synonyms: snare
    I put down some traps in my apartment to try and deal with the mouse problem.
  2. A trick or arrangement designed to catch someone in a more general sense; a snare.
    Unfortunately she fell into the trap of confusing biology with destiny.
    • 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
      God and your majesty / Protect mine innocence, or I fall into / The trap is laid for me!
  3. A covering over a hole or opening; a trapdoor.
    Close the trap, would you, before someone falls and breaks their neck.
  4. A wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball
  5. The game of trapball itself.
  6. Any device used to hold and suddenly release an object.
    They shot out of the school gates like greyhounds out of the trap.
  7. A bend, sag, or other device in a waste-pipe arranged so that the liquid contents form a seal which prevents the escape of noxious gases, but permits the flow of liquids.
  8. A place in a water pipe, pump, etc., where air accumulates for lack of an outlet.
  9. (historical) A light two-wheeled carriage with springs.
    • 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 2
      The two women looked down the alley. At the end of the Bottoms a man stood in a sort of old-fashioned trap, bending over bundles of cream-coloured stuff; while a cluster of women held up their arms to him, some with bundles.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 51
      I had told them they could have my trap to take them as far as the road went, because after that they had a long walk.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473 ↗:
      At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar.
  10. (slang) A person's mouth.
    Keep your trap shut.
  11. (in the plural) Belongings.
    • 1870, Mark Twain, Running for Governor,
      ...his cabin-mates in Montana losing small valuables from time to time, until at last, these things having been invariably found on Mr. Twain's person or in his "trunk" (newspaper he rolled his traps in)...
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter IX, p. 144,
      "Carry your traps out, Ma?" asked one of the passengers.
  12. (slang) A cubicle (in a public toilet).
    I've just laid a cable in trap 2 so I'd give it 5 minutes if I were you.
  13. (sports) Trapshooting.
  14. (geology) A geological structure that creates a petroleum reservoir.
  15. (computing) An exception generated by the processor or by an external event.
  16. (Australia, slang, historical) A mining license inspector during the Australian gold rush.
    • 1996, Judith Kapferer, Being All Equal: Identity, Difference and Australian Cultural Practice, [ page 84],
      The miners′ grievances centred on the issue of the compulsory purchase of miners′ licences and the harassment of raids by the licensing police, the ‘traps,’ in search of unlicensed miners.
    • 2006, Helen Calvert, Jenny Herbst, Ross Smith, Australia and the World: Thinking Historically, [ page 55],
      Diggers were angered by frequent licence inspections and harassment by ‘the traps’ (the goldfield police).
  17. (US, slang, informal, AAVE) A vehicle, residential building, or sidewalk corner where drugs are manufactured, packaged, or sold. (Also used attributively to describe things which are used for the sale of drugs, e.g. "a trap phone", "a trap car".)
  18. A kind of movable stepladder.
  19. (slang, informal, chiefly derogatory or offensive) A non-op trans woman or (femininely dressed) transvestite. Some speakers distinguish the term from transgender on the basis of self-designation.
  20. (slang, informal, sometimes considered offensive) A fictional character from anime, or related media, who is coded as or has qualities typically associated with a gender other than the character's ostensible gender.
  21. (music genre, uncountable) A genre of hip-hop music, with half-time drums and heavy sub-bass.
    Synonyms: trap music
  22. (slang, uncountable) The money earned by a prostitute for a pimp.
    • 2010, C. J. Land, A Hustler's Tale (page 54)
      The money clip held thirty-nine hundred dollars, combined with her trap money, she had five thousand dollars for her man.
    • 2011, Shaheem Hargrove, ‎Sharice Cuthrell, The Rise and Fall of a Ghetto Celebrity (page 55)
      The code was to call a pimp and tell him you have his hoe plus turn over her night trap but that was bull because the HOE was out of his stable months before I copped her.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: siphon
  • German: Siphon, Geruchsverschluss
  • Portuguese: sifão
  • Russian: сифо́н
  • Spanish: sifón
Translations Translations Verb

trap (traps, present participle trapping; past and past participle trapped)

  1. (transitive) To physically capture#Verb|capture, to catch in a trap or traps, or something like a trap.
    to trap foxes
  2. (transitive) To ensnare; to take by stratagem; to entrap.
    • I trapped the foe.
  3. (transitive) To provide with a trap.
    to trap a drain
    to trap a sewer pipe
  4. (intransitive) To set traps for game; to make a business of trapping game
    trap for beaver
  5. (intransitive) To leave suddenly, to flee.
  6. (US, slang, informal, AAVE, intransitive) To sell illegal drugs, especially in a public area.
  7. (computing, intransitive) To capture (e.g. an error) in order to handle or process it.
Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Fallen stellen
Translations Related terms Noun


  1. A dark coloured igneous rock, now used to designate any non-volcanic, non-granitic igneous rock; trap rock.

trap (traps, present participle trapping; past and past participle trapped)

  1. To dress with ornaments; to adorn (especially said of horses).
    • to deck his hearse, and trap his tomb-black steed
    • ?, Alfred Tennyson, Godiva
      There she found her palfrey trapt / In purple blazon'd with armorial gold.
Related terms Noun

trap (plural traps)

  1. (slang, bodybuilding) The trapezius muscle.


trap (uncountable)

  1. (US, legislation) Acronym of targeted regulation of abortion providers

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