1. A program interrupt, usually an interrupt caused by some exceptional situation in the user program. In most cases, the OS performs some action, then returns control to the program.

2. To cause a trap. "These instructions trap to the monitor." Also used transitively to indicate the cause of the trap. "The monitor traps all input/output instructions."

This term is associated with assembler programming ("interrupt" or "exception" is more common among HLL programmers) and appears to be fading into history among programmers as the role of assembler continues to shrink. However, it is still important to computer architects and systems hackers (see system, sense 1), who use it to distinguish deterministically repeatable exceptions from timing-dependent ones (such as I/O interrupts).

(01 Jul 2002)

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<geology> An old term rather loosely used to designate various dark-coloured, heavy igneous rocks, including especially the feldspathic-augitic rocks, basalt, dolerite, amygdaloid, etc, but including also some kinds of diorite. Called also trap rock. Trap tufa, Trap tuff, a kind of fragmental rock made up of fragments and earthy materials from trap rocks.

Origin: Sw. Trapp; akin to trappa stairs, Dan. Trappe, G. Treppe, D. Trap; so called because the rocks of this class often occur in large, tabular masses, rising above one another, like steps. See Tramp.

1. A machine or contrivance that shuts suddenly, as with a spring, used for taking game or other animals; as, a trap for foxes. "She would weep if that she saw a mouse Caught in a trap." (Chaucer)

2. A snare; an ambush; a stratagem; any device by which one may be caught unawares. "Let their table be made a snare and a trap." (Rom. Xi. 9) "God and your majesty Protect mine innocence, or I fall into The trap is laid for me!" (Shak)

3. A wooden instrument shaped somewhat like a shoe, used in the game of trapball. It consists of a pivoted arm on one end of which is placed the ball to be thrown into the air by striking the other end. Also, a machine for throwing into the air glass balls, clay pigeons, etc, to be shot at.

4. The game of trapball.

5. A bend, sag, or partitioned chamber, in a drain, soil pipe, sewer, etc, arranged so that the liquid contents form a seal which prevents passage of air or gas, but permits the flow of liquids.

6. A place in a water pipe, pump, etc, where air accumulates for want of an outlet.

7. A wagon, or other vehicle.

8. A kind of movable stepladder. Trap stairs, a staircase leading to a trapdoor.

<botany> Trap tree the jack; so called because it furnishes a kind of birdlime. See 1st Jack.

Origin: OE. Trappe, AS. Treppe; akin to OD.trappe, OHG. Trapo; probably fr. The root of E. Tramp, as that which is trod upon: cf. F. Trappe, which is trod upon: cf. F. Trappe, which perhaps influenced the English word.

(01 Mar 1998)