Definition of snare in US English:



  • 1A trap for catching birds or animals, typically one having a noose of wire or cord.

    • ‘The future for the lynx is grim, with successive bouts of disease affecting rabbit populations, and illegal hunting and snares continuing to take a heavy toll.’
    • ‘House Bill 1486 allows hunters to use snares to trap animals such as raccoons, foxes and beavers on land.’
    • ‘Commercial hunters using snares and guns strip an estimated one million tons of wildlife from forests to supply logging camps and distant cities with smoked bush meat.’
    • ‘Over 25 percent of chimpanzees in tourist and research groups in Uganda are missing hands or feet as a result of snares from wire traps set out for antelopes.’
    • ‘Some of the bears were taken from the wild as cubs and several have missing and deformed limbs as a result of snares or leg hold traps.’
    • ‘Gamekeepers set illegal snares that injure and kill other animals, including foxes, rabbits, and birds of prey - even domestic pets.’
    • ‘Other than nets and common type mouse or rat traps, traps designed to capture and hold a furbearing mammal by gripping the mammal's body, or body part are prohibited, including steel jaw leghold traps, padded leghold traps, and snares.’
    • ‘Most poachers used silent and invisible methods such as wire snares and jaw traps to capture their quarry, be it deer or tigers.’
    • ‘How many snares would a single hunter set in the forest?’
    • ‘I started setting snares and catching smaller animals: rabbits, birds and the such.’
    • ‘Not only that, I once saw where a lynx had walked along the same trail and obviously jumped right through the snare without making the hair-trigger set spring.’
    • ‘Tigers are caught and killed using rudimentary wire snares, often deep within national parks, and sold for their skins and body parts in an illegal trade industry that spans much of Asia.’
    • ‘We trapped bears during June-August each year with spring-activated Aldrich foot snares and culvert traps, and we entered the dens of radiocollared bears during January-March each year.’
    • ‘In her diary entry for 4 June 1832, Sally Brown noted catching two partridges, probably using snares.’
    • ‘When most kids were learning to read, write and speak English, 54-year-old Mary Ann Smyth was learning to set wire snares, skin rabbits, dry and smoke meat and sew hides together to make warm winter blankets.’
    • ‘He recognized that although the cutting down of forests drove out many birds and mammals, and many were killed by fires in the woods, these were not nearly so destructive as the traps, nets and snares devised to capture birds.’
    • ‘They still practise some of the traditional hunting methods such as use of snares, spheres and traps.’
    • ‘Just after 10, the crocodile began moving across the loop of snares set to trap her by government workers and as she gradually became entangled the snare tightened so that by 10.15 am she was unable to move.’
    • ‘A CAT was injured after being caught in a deliberately-set noose snare.’
    • ‘They had also caught four rabbits in snares they had set the morning after making camp.’
    trap, gin, net, noose
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    1. 1.1 A thing likely to lure or tempt someone into harm or error.
      ‘the wickedness and snares of the Devil’
      • ‘Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.’
      • ‘Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.’
      • ‘Perhaps, if those children received help at this early stage, they might not fall permanently into the vicious snare of shyness which can leave adults, like Lynne Crawford, reflecting sadly on a life of missed opportunities.’
      • ‘Your kind are the ones that tear people down and lure helpless girls into their snares!’
      • ‘Artists have been consciously aware for a very long time of the conflict between aesthetic image and reality and the fact that this conflict poses a specific set of contradictions, difficulties and potential snares.’
      pitfall, trick, trap, tangle, web, mesh, catch, danger, hazard, peril
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  • 2A length of wire, gut, or hide stretched across a drumhead to produce a rattling sound.

    1. 2.1
      short for snare drum
      • ‘Gentle brush strokes on a snare drum and soft, lilting vocals are all well and good, but pure pleasantness is apt to fall into the category of being dangerously languorous.’
      • ‘The instantly catchy tunes and clever songs were fused with an original and complimentary production, a bare-bones acoustic minimalism, all played on 10 steel strings and a single snare drum.’
      • ‘The simplest sounds - the rustle of a snare drum, a snatch of vocals looped repeatedly - induce a trancelike state.’
      • ‘He moved with butterfly-like motions between his snare drum, his bass drums and his cymbals in a jubilant pattern.’
      • ‘Sure, it had a fine array of percussion - timpani, snare drum, bass drum, gong, glockenspiel - but they were just there for effect.’
  • 3Surgery
    A wire loop for severing polyps or other growths.

    • ‘A wire snare is used to remove the polyps under local or general anaesthetic.’
    • ‘The operator slowly closed the snare as the wire advanced through the tissue allowing for simultaneous cutting and coagulation.’
    • ‘The endobronchial accessories consisted of polypectomy snare, coagulation probe, forceps, and a cutting blade.’
    • ‘If a polyp or abnormality is found, your doctor may choose to remove it with a snare or using cautery.’
    • ‘If a polyp or abnormal tissue is found, the doctor may choose to remove it with a snare or cautery, or may take a biopsy.’


[with object]
  • 1Catch (a bird or mammal) in a snare.

    • ‘Paying no attention, other men were trying to snare birds with their shirts.’
    • ‘They used a quad bike and a hurling net to snare the pig who had captured the front page readers for the past three weeks.’
    • ‘He saw the camp having been completed and the group gathering around the fire after snaring a rabbit or some other such creature.’
    • ‘As the pigs continue to avoid capture, a hairy villain by the name of Wolf arrives on the scene to snare the pigs and send them back to the abattoir.’
    • ‘At suitable sites, mist nets are strung up, and traps laid that harmlessly snare the birds as they come down to roost or rest.’
    • ‘I had only just learned which plants to eat and how to snare rabbits.’
    • ‘She recently picked her way through park underbrush carrying a net she later used to snare a 4-hour-old antelope, which she weighed, fitted with a radio collar and released.’
    • ‘Concerned fishermen put pilchard bait on a rock, snared the bird and cut the nylon away.’
    • ‘PC Downing believes that these days there is much more of a realisation of the terrible impact of illegally snaring animals, birds and insects - but he still fears that many see it as a little, insignificant issue.’
    trap, catch, net, bag, ensnare, entrap
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    1. 1.1 Catch or trap (someone)
      ‘I snared a passing waiter’
      • ‘It's Sadie Hawkins day, and a prime opportunity for the women of Dogpatch to snare a husband.’
      • ‘Detectives suspected Brindle of drug dealing again in the summer of 2004, and launched a covert surveillance operation in a bid to snare him.’
      • ‘The film manages to have a strong undercurrent of threat and despair, which will aid in snaring a viewer.’
      • ‘The Evening Advertiser and the police launched the Swindon Drugs Hotline last year to snare dealers.’
      • ‘She could not confirm whether cameras were snaring drivers flouting the law in the absence of the bollard.’
      • ‘Heroin worth £1, 500 was seized, along with £2,000 in cash after officers mounted a covert surveillance operation to snare dealers.’
      • ‘Here they are trying to snare someone in their web of lies, according to the defense.’
      • ‘The faintest bit of curiosity is all it takes to snare you.’
      • ‘Even wanting to get rich can be a trap, which snares us in foolish and harmful desires that lead to ruin and destruction.’
      • ‘Mr Rooke said some premium retail sites might find it harder to snare tenants at existing rents, but B-grade retail space would be hardest hit by any oversupply.’
      • ‘She has an Italian sugar daddy on the go before she marries Brocket and sees him again after, and her one aim in life seems to be snaring someone wealthy enough to keep her.’
      • ‘Uniform and plain clothes officers will attempt to snare troublemakers before warmer weather increases fire risks.’
      • ‘Police investigating raids on vehicles in a Blackburn car park near Waves set a trap to snare the thieves.’
      • ‘A football hooligan jailed for attempting to murder a man was a danger to the public, according to a police officer who helped to snare him.’
      • ‘Most use mass-marketing techniques to snare their victims, and the problem has worsened with the wider use of email.’
      • ‘But the police spotted him and snared him in their net, pushing him back into the crowd of demonstrators and forcing him to the ground.’
      • ‘Dubbed the Black Widow, the 43-year-old mother-of-one wove webs of fantasy to snare her male victims, often luring them with promises of a new life that police would come to call the American Dream.’
      • ‘A single strand of hair recovered from the victim's clothes managed to snare him and detectives arrested him at his home.’
      • ‘Magazine magnates, television producers and movie studio executives wouldn't continue to use bridal themes as a blueprint if they didn't snare consumers.’
      • ‘It would be good to snare new readers without asking for subscription money.’


Late Old English sneare, from Old Norse snara. snare (sense 2 of the noun) is probably from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch snare ‘harp string’.