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1. a process in which one makes increasing commitments to a failing course of action or an unattainable goal in order to justify the amount of time and effort already invested, feeling helpless to do otherwise. An example is provided by a company that proceeds with the design and construction of a new building for its employees after economic and other changes significantly reduce profits, halt business growth, and result in staff layoffs that make the new space not only financially burdensome but also no longer necessary. See also escalating commitment.

2. a pathological condition in which swelling of surrounding tissue places excessive pressure on a nerve. Fibers located on the surface of the nerve usually bear the brunt of the compression, whereas interior fibers tend to be less affected. Repeated or long-term entrapment can cause nerve damage and muscle weakness.

3. a law enforcement agent’s provocation or inducement of an individual to commit an illegal action when that individual would not necessarily have engaged in the activity otherwise. If entrapment is proved, it can serve as a defense in a criminal prosecution.

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