Green’s Dictionary of Slang

trap n.1

1. [late 17C–19C] trickery, fraud; usu. as understand trap ; up to trap

2. [18C–early 19C] one who blackmails a prostitute’s client.

3. [18C+] (also trapsman) usu. in pl., a policeman or similar agent of the law [metonymy].

4. attrib. use of sense 3.

5. [late 18C+] the mouth; esp. in phrs. keep one’s trap shut , shut one’s trap [it is a ‘trap’ for food, often used in combs., e.g. bread trap under bread n.1 , meat trap under meat n.].

6. [1920s+] a place, a house or apartment.

7. [1930s] (US tramp) a hiding-place for liquor or other illegal goods.

8. [1930s+] (US) a nightclub.

9. [1940s] (US black) the military draft during WWII.

10. [1960s] (drugs) a hiding place for drugs.

11. [1970s] a cubicle or stall in a public lavatory.

12. [1970s+] (US black) the number of customers a prostitute is assigned as a daily tally by her pimp to reach a financial target; thus the many she earns each night[i.e. those whom she SE traps].

13. (US black) money.

14. (US black / drugs) a place where drugs are dealt.

15. [2000s] the vagina.

16. see wolf-trap under wolf n.

In phrases

keep one’s trap shut (v.) (also keep one’s trap closed)

[20C+] to be quiet.

shoot (off) one’s trap (v.) [shoot v. (4c) ]

[1930s–40s] to talk injudiciously, to boast.

shut one’s trap (v.) (also close one’s trap)

[late 18C+] to be quiet; usu. as imper. shut your trap!

trap is down

used by a potential victim, the trick has failed.

understand trap (v.)

[late 17C–19C] to be aware, to know what is in one’s interest.

up to trap (adj.) (also trap)

[19C] aware.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

trap house (n.) [house n.1 (1); note also trap house under trap v.1 ]

[mid-19C] (US Und.) a brothel where clients are robbed while in flagrante by an accomplice who reaches in through a concealed panel.

trap money (n.)

[1970s+] (US black) a prostitute’s daily earnings.

trap (number) two (n.) [joc. use of greyhound terminology]

[1990s+] the anus; thus take it up trap two, to submit to anal intercourse.

In phrases

check a trap (v.) (also check one’s trap) [play on SE check one’s trap, but note check v. (1)] [1990s+] (US black)

1. to monitor a given situation, to oversee one’s business, esp. when it is illicit.

2. to spend time with a lover, esp. one with whom one is having an affair.

go round the traps (v.) [the image is of a farmer, gamekeeper or poacher touring the traps set to catch game]

[1930s–60s] (Aus.) to make a tour of inspection.

in the trap

[2010s] (US) at work.