In the text I'm reading, a man is very nervous during a process because he's afraid that a witness might say something bad about him. But the witness doesn't say anything bad and he relaxes:

"He hadn't even realized that his traps were in a vice until the witness got up to leave".

What does "his traps were in a vice" mean, exactly? I don't understand the meaning of traps here.


The word "traps" is slang for the two trapezius muscles in your upper back that attach to your neck. When people are tense those muscles often get tight or cramp.

So, "his traps were in a vice" probably means his muscles were so tense from the stress of the situation that they felt as though they were being squeezed in a vise or "A heavy clamp, usually mounted on a workbench and operated by a screw or lever, used in carpentry or metalworking to hold a piece in position."

The word "vise" can be correctly spelled as either "vice" or "vise", but "vice" has more diverse meanings, so it may be better to choose the "vise" spelling when you're talking about the tool.

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