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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 of mousetrap
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mousetrap
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is a piece of cheese—a piece of cheese in a mousetrap, and we are the little mice.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • I'm here, we're here, and you've just provided me with a way out of this mousetrap!

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • Trina burst in upon her mother while the latter was setting a mousetrap in the kitchen.

    McTeague Frank Norris
  • When I got there I found that poor Tom was imprisoned in a mousetrap.

  • The player-queen, when not robed for performance in the tragedy of "The mousetrap," should wear a boy's dress.

    A Book of the Play Dutton Cook
  • The players enter and plan with Hamlet the performance of The mousetrap.

    Dramatic Technique George Pierce Baker
  • An ordinary spring mousetrap makes a good bread or milk-ticket holder.

  • To the left is the "mousetrap," to the right the prison gates.

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

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Word Value for mousetrap

13
16
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