trap (someone or something) in (something)
1. Literally, to ensnare or confine someone or an animal with or within something. He trapped the rabbit in a homemade snare. He managed to trap the burglar in the cellar while he waited for the police to arrive. I refuse to kill animals, so I trapped the rodent in a cage and released it in the forest.
2. To prevent someone or something from leaving something or some place. Often used in passive constructions. The accident trapped hundreds of drivers in traffic on the highway. I hate being trapped in the office when the sun is shining outside.
3. To prevent someone or something from escaping from or progressing beyond some situation or set of circumstances. Often used in passive constructions. The two companies have become trapped in a legal deadlock over this issue. A confluence of different forces has trapped tens of thousands of people in this region in a cycle of poverty.
4. To catch someone or something in some duplicitous moment or action. Often used in passive constructions. The prosecutor trapped the defendant in a lie that exposed his involvement in the crime. I felt like the interviewer spent the whole time trying to trap me in inconsistencies in my application.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
trap someone or something in something
to catch someone or something in a trap. Jed accidentally trapped Tex in his bear trap. Jerry trapped a rabbit in his trap.
trap someone in something
to catch someone in an inconsistency or contradiction. The lawyer trapped the witness in his inconsistencies. She trapped herself in her own argument.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.