from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- (verb) To beat, claw, and scratch; thrash; drub.
- (verb) To scold; abuse with the tongue; revile.
Now these rival rogues will clapperclaw one another, and I shall have the sport of it.
For all these same birds did so peck, clapperclaw, and maul one another all that time, that there was the devil and all to do, and the island was in a fair way of being left without inhabitants.
I see thou hast played me a scurvy trick, thou villainous fellow, cried the angry devil; at last I am fully resolved even to make an end of the business betwixt thee and myself about the ground, and these shall be the terms: we will clapperclaw each other, and whoever of us two shall first cry Hold, shall quit his share of the field, which shall wholly belong to the conqueror.
The word 'clapperclaw' originated in the 16th century, and may have been formed by combining 'clapper,' slang for the tongue of a talkative person, and 'claw,' to tear, scratch.