1, 2. T rap , pitfall , snare apply to literal or figurative contrivances for deceiving and catching animals or people. Literally, a trap is a mechanical contrivance for catching animals, the main feature usually being a spring: a trap baited with cheese for mice. Figuratively, trap suggests the scheme of one person to take another by surprise and thereby gain an advantage: a trap for the unwary. A pitfall is (usually) a concealed pit arranged for the capture of large animals or of people who may fall into it; figuratively, it is any concealed danger, error, or source of disaster: to avoid the pitfalls of life. A snare is a device for entangling birds, rabbits, etc., with intent to capture; figuratively, it implies enticement and inveiglement: the temptress' snare.