Definition of mousetrap in US English:



  • A trap for catching and usually killing mice, especially one with a spring bar which snaps down on to the mouse when it touches a piece of cheese or other bait attached to the mechanism.

    • ‘My first reaction was to send a one word reply then my sense of humour took over and I sent the attached reply: ‘The only free cheese is in a mousetrap!’’
    • ‘This morning I noticed the mousetrap had moved from its place behind the door to the other side of the room, under the vegetable rack.’
    • ‘There was a general agreement not to get a cat or mousetraps, but simply to minimize the amount of food left about.’
    • ‘My reasons for this are as follows: Several people had told me that I should try candy in the mousetrap, as mice like candy.’
    • ‘He observes him doing the laundry, setting mousetraps, smoking a pipe, taking a bath.’
    • ‘Hardware such as nails, screws, tools, axes, mops, brooms, rakes, rope, tubs, mousetraps, flashlights, batteries, and barbed wire could be purchased.’
    • ‘‘No,’ I said, ‘I'll just put some mousetraps in the garage.’’
    • ‘A political entrepreneur lobbies Congress to prohibit the importation of foreign-made mousetraps.’
    • ‘After phonecalls to many people, we discover one house which has a spare mousetrap.’
    • ‘I notice a high-tech mousetrap by the door - breweries always have problems with mice because of all the grain - but everything looks sparkling clean.’
    • ‘One department store noticed a spike in requests for rat-killing products a few years ago, and now they have a full line of devices, from traditional mousetraps to a high-tech contraption that uses a rat-scaring sensor.’
    • ‘One of Lee's jobs is to keep the office mousetraps constantly replenished with cheese: he has stacks of individual cubes in the fridge.’
    • ‘A pest-control firm has launched a chocolate-scented mousetrap after university researchers found rodents preferred it to cheese.’
    • ‘In the middle of our interview he left the table to go and deal with a dead mouse from a mousetrap under his cooker!’
    • ‘At the same time they put out mousetraps to kill the mice that were stealing the bird food.’
    • ‘Each night he set mousetraps to obtain specimens from the small rodent population.’
    • ‘Ransome searched the local shops in vain for a mousetrap, he even tried the local bakery - surely they had mice - but he needn't have worried.’
    • ‘According to a report in New Scientist, a mousetrap has been developed by Rentokil that will text your mobile to tell you when it has successfully caught one.’
    • ‘You should bait mousetraps with chocolate, not cheese.’
    • ‘Then Bo called him saying, ‘Just watch out when you open the cupboard doors, because I've set some mousetraps.’’


[with object]North American
  • 1Induce (someone) to do something by means of a trick.

    ‘the editor mousetrapped her into giving him an article’
    • ‘‘I'm thinking you know you've mousetrapped me fair and square,’ he told her, ‘but I've a mind to hear a bit more about you before we're off to the South Weald.’’
    1. 1.1 Block (a user's) efforts to exit from a website, usually one to which they have been redirected.
      • ‘In many cases, the consumer is sent to the other sites involuntarily, which is known in the industry as ‘mousetrapping.’’


  • a better mousetrap

    • An improved version of a well-known item.

      • ‘Whether or not one has built a better mousetrap means little if the new improved model cannot be tested.’
      • ‘If someone feels that he can build a better mousetrap than his employer wants to make, he can find a way to make it, market it, and perhaps put his former boss out of business.’
      • ‘Besides their ability to build better mousetraps, many of these CEOs will drive the growth of their enterprises through the application of sheer will.’
      • ‘Management must create bigger and better mousetraps with fewer hands.’
      • ‘Instead of just turning a new idea or technology into a better mousetrap, they suggest ways to transform it into a product that completely changes the game, capturing brand-new customers and thus producing much higher growth.’
      • ‘During the wild times of the late 90s, they were hailed as a modern manifestation of the American Dream: Build a better mousetrap and the world will make you a market millionaire as soon as your company goes public.’
      • ‘The old adage, ‘Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door,’ may be more optimistic than realistic.’
      • ‘Who says building a better mousetrap isn't fun?’
      • ‘‘It's about building a better mousetrap,’ Cameron says.’
      • ‘Six months ago when we were saying we won't sell direct, we'll work with our dealers and figure out a better mousetrap, a lot of people were saying we're crazy.’
      • ‘And, despite the best efforts of engineers around the globe to come up with a better mousetrap, the humble battery will be around for a while - it's a very mature technology with more than 100 years of successful application.’
      • ‘What we're saying is that we can deliver more performance and meet the price threshold by coming up with a better mousetrap.’
      • ‘‘If you create a really well-differentiated product that everyone loves, if you deliver a better mousetrap, the customers build the brand for you,’ he said.’