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trap 1 (trăp)
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n.
1. A contrivance for catching and holding animals, as a concealed pit or a clamplike device that springs shut suddenly.
2. A stratagem for catching or tricking an unwary person.
3. A confining or undesirable circumstance from which escape or relief is difficult:fell into poverty's trap.
4. A device for sealing a passage against the escape of gases, especially a U-shaped or S-shaped bend in a drainpipe that prevents the return flow of sewer gas by means of a water barrier.
5. Sports
a. A device that hurls clay pigeons into the air in trapshooting.
b. A land hazard or bunker on a golf course; a sand trap.
c. trapsA measured length of roadway over which electronic timers register the speed of a racing vehicle, such as a dragster.
6. Baseball See web.
7. Sports
a. A defensive strategy or play, as in basketball or hockey, in which two or more defenders converge on an offensive player shortly after the player gains possession of the ball or puck.
b. The act of trapping a soccer ball.
8. Football A running play in which the ball carrier advances through a hole in the defensive line created by allowing a defensive lineman to penetrate the backfield.
9. A light two-wheeled carriage with springs.
10. A trapdoor.
11. trapsMusic Percussion instruments, such as snare drums and cymbals, especially in a jazz band.
12. Slang The human mouth.
v.trapped, trap·ping, traps
v.tr.
1. To catch in a trap; ensnare.
2. To prevent from escaping or getting free:was trapped in the locked attic.
3. To deceive or trick by means of a scheme or plan. See Synonyms at catch.
4. To seal off (gases) by a trap.
5. To furnish with traps or a trap.
6. Sports
a. To catch (a ball) immediately after it has hit the ground.
b. To gain control of (a moving soccer ball) by allowing it to hit and bounce off a part of the body other than the arm or hand.
v.intr.
1. To set traps for game.
2. To engage in trapping furbearing animals.

[Middle English, fromOld Englishtræppe.]
(click for a larger image)
(click for a larger image)
trap1
top: sink trap
bottom: golf course sand trap

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
trap 2 (trăp) Archaic
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n.
often traps Personal belongings or household goods.
tr.v. trapped, trap·ping, traps
To furnish with trappings.

[Middle English trap, trapping, perhaps alteration of Old French drap, cloth, from Late Latin drappus.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
trap 3 (trăp)
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n.
Any of several dark, fine-grained igneous rocks often used in making roads.

[Swedish trapp, from trappa, step, from Middle Low German trappe.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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