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mousetrap

[mous-trap] /ˈmaʊsˌtræp/
noun
1.
a trap for mice, especially one consisting of a rectangular wooden base on which a metal spring is mounted.
2.
a device, machine, or the like whose structure or function suggests a trap for mice.
3.
a device, system, or stratagem for detecting and catching someone in an unauthorized or illegal act.
4.
Football. trap1 (def 11).
verb (used with object), mousetrapped, mousetrapping.
5.
Informal.
  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.
6.
Football. trap1 (def 20).
Idioms
7.
build a better mousetrap, to make or offer a superior product.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English mous trappe. See mouse, trap1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mousetrap
  • As legislatures call for accountability-and even for publishing teacher ratings, researchers try to build a better mousetrap.
  • In the last five or six years, it became evident that building a better mousetrap wasn't enough.
  • It should come as no surprise that some of the high-tech new rich have tried to invent a better mousetrap for managing money.
  • But over the years some have come to see them as more of a mousetrap.
  • mousetrap cars are an old standby for science projects in grade school.
  • Simply building a better mousetrap doesn't mean anyone will use it.
  • Go ahead and design one, and if it's a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door.
  • So you have built the better mousetrap--the world's best mousetrap, you think.
  • The maker of the better mousetrap may be in real trouble if the other fellow has the bigger ad budget.
  • But its makers have built a better mousetrap in a number of important ways.
British Dictionary definitions for mousetrap

mousetrap

/ˈmaʊsˌtræp/
noun
1.
any trap for catching mice, esp one with a spring-loaded metal bar that is released by the taking of the bait
2.
(Brit, 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
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Word Origin and History for mousetrap
n.

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
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Slang definitions & phrases for mousetrap

mousetrap

noun

A small, inferior theater or nightclub: He walked out on the stage of a mousetrap called the Blue Angel (1950s+)

verb

To trick someone into a trap, esp by various feints (1950s+ Sports)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Difficulty index for mousetrap

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mousetrap

13
16
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