booby trap, n.
1. A means of deliberately tricking or luring an unwary or foolish person into difficulty or error. Also: a hidden or unsuspected source of difficulty; a pitfall. Frequently in to fall (also walk) into a booby trap . Cf. pitfall n. 4.Frequently used or understood as a figurative use of sense 2. In quot. 1832 with reference to Lord Henley's use of the word ‘speedy’ when pledging to abolish slavery in the West Indies.
a. An object or set of objects set up, esp. as a practical joke, as a trap to startle or discomfort an unsuspecting person when triggered by a particular action (e.g. opening a door); a prank involving such a trap.A typical booby trap takes the form of an object balanced on top of a door, ready to fall on the next person to pass through.
b. orig. Military. A trap set to harm, kill, or ensnare an enemy, intruder, etc.; (in later use often) spec. a concealed explosive device having a mechanism designed to detonate the explosive if it is disturbed.
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