from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To strike the palms of the hands together with a sudden explosive sound, as in applauding.
  • intransitive verb To come together suddenly with a sharp sound.
  • intransitive verb To strike together with a sharp sound, as one hard surface on another.
  • intransitive verb To strike (the hands) together with an abrupt, loud sound, usually repeatedly.
  • intransitive verb To strike lightly but firmly with the open hand, as in greeting.
  • intransitive verb To put or place quickly and firmly.
  • intransitive verb To arrange hastily.
  • noun The act or sound of clapping the hands.
  • noun A sudden, loud, explosive sound.
  • noun A sharp blow with the open hand; a slap.
  • noun Obsolete A sudden stroke of fortune, especially of bad luck.
  • noun Gonorrhea. Often used with the.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To infect with venereal poison.
  • To strike with a quick, sharp motion; slap; pat, as with the palm of the open hand or some flat object: as, to clap one on the shoulder.
  • Hence To fondle by.patting.
  • To push forcibly; move together; shut hastily: followed by to: as, to clap to the door or gate.
  • To place or put, especially by a hasty or sudden motion: as, to clap the hand to the mouth; to clap spurs to a horse.
  • To strike, knock, or slap together, as the hands, or against the body, as wings, with a sharp, abrupt sound.
  • Hence To manifest approbation of by striking the hands together; applaud by clapping the hands.
  • To utter noisily.
  • To imprison, especially without formality or delay.
  • . To strike or knock, as at a door.
  • To come together suddenly with a sharp noise; close with a bang; slam; clack.
  • To applaud, as by clapping the hands together.
  • To chatter; prattle or prate continually or noisily.
  • To begin or set to work with alacrity and briskness.
  • noun A sudden sharp sound produced by a collision; a bang; a slap; a slam.
  • noun Hence A burst or peal, as of thunder.
  • noun A striking together, as of the hands or of a bird's wings; especially, a striking of the hands together, to express applause.
  • noun A clapping; applause expressed by clapping.
  • noun Noise of any kind, especially idle chatter.
  • noun A sudden blow, motion, or act: generally in the phrase at a clap (which see, below).
  • noun A touch or pat with the open hand: as, he put her off with a kiss and a clap.
  • noun In falconry, the nether part of the beak of a hawk.
  • noun Same as clapper, 1
  • noun Gonorrhea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To knock, as at a door.
  • intransitive verb To strike the hands together in applause.
  • intransitive verb To come together suddenly with noise.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To enter with alacrity and briskness; -- with to or into.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To talk noisily; to chatter loudly.
  • noun A loud noise made by sudden collision; a bang.
  • noun A burst of sound; a sudden explosion.
  • noun A single, sudden act or motion; a stroke; a blow.
  • noun A striking of hands to express approbation.
  • noun obsolete Noisy talk; chatter.
  • noun (Falconry) The nether part of the beak of a hawk.
  • noun See Clack dish, under Clack, n.
  • noun a net for taking birds, made to close or clap together.
  • transitive verb To strike; to slap; to strike, or strike together, with a quick motion, so, as to make a sharp noise.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English clappen, from Old English clæppan, clappian, to throb, and from Old Norse klappa, to clap, pat.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from obsolete French clapoir, bubo, from Old French clapier, brothel, from Old Provençal, rabbit warren, from clap, heap of stones, perhaps of Celtic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the + clap

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English clæppan.


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  • Here is claps wif mai floofy paws..**clap clap clap** heer iz sparklee drinkee wif much xtry catnipz nd shotz ub tewkeelas, and to top off wid much possim size choklits to noms on, and snorgles wit mai floofy bebeh kitteh wat haz dots on tumee and pinkee toe pads!

    New kitteh? Black u sez? - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger? 2008

  • _Clap -- clap -- clap_ was the only sound that reached me -- and with failing heart I knew the noise to be that of waves of the lake beating upon the wall within a few inches of my window, the dark waters which in due time would no doubt rise through my uneven floor and engulf me.

    The Minister of Evil The Secret History of Rasputin's Betrayal of Russia William Le Queux 1895

  • At last, though, thinking that he had better lie down for fear of being very tired next day, he reached out his hand to draw in the casement, but kept it there, for a very familiar sound now struck upon his ear: _Clap, clap, clap, clap_ of wings, and then a thoroughly hearty old English cock-a-doodle-doo! and the boy burst into a merry laugh.

    First in the Field A Story of New South Wales George Manville Fenn 1870

  • Big Stan * clap clap clap clap* It will be the best movie it will be so much better than Comments

    Pajiba 2009

  • Wed 04/16 19: 24 comments (46) * clap clap* Congratulations to the winner! Antenna 2009

  • *beeky beeky beeky beeky wingy wingy wingy wing wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle clap clap clap clap*

    flying: - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger? 2008

  • * clap clap* i've been retreating for the past two days. i have cramps. i'm too tired to write. anyone know of anything that makes cramps go away? do those heat pads work? hm. i think i may have to invest. don't worry, i'll write lots about the retreat and the past week later. sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

    courage. *clap* get up! *clap clap* choco-lemon 2005

  • But it will be said, perhaps, that candidates for [122] political influence and leadership, who thus caress the self-love of those whose suffrages they desire, know quite well that they are not saying the sheer truth as reason sees it, but that they are using a sort of conventional language, or what we call clap-trap, which is essential to the working of representative institutions.

    Culture and Anarchy Matthew Arnold 1855

  • The president's slight shift on offshore drilling for oil and gas is worthy of at least a polite opera clap from the conservative camp.

    Ugly politics: How low can we go? 2010

  • Hardly a single clap from the republican side of the aisle.

    Obama warns anyone who would 'misrepresent' plan 2009


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  • Whatever WeirdNet may say, I'm going with the 'hit palms together noisily' meaning.

    May 4, 2008

  • Their first favour was to clap me up in a cell, where they left me on the straw like a criminal, whose only earthly portion was to con over his dying speech in solitude.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 9 ch. 4

    October 7, 2008

  • The "common venereal disease" definition has led to the idiom "a case of the clap". This has in turn led to the humorous usage referring to unbidden or "inappropriate" applause in the middle of a live classical performance, e.g. "The audience had a case of the clap tonight."

    (Disclaimer: I am not against applause between movements at concerts, but there are certainly times when it's ill-judged.)

    October 7, 2008