verb (claps, clapping, clapped)[with object]
- 1Strike the palms of (one’s hands) together repeatedly, typically in order to applaud someone or something: Agnes clapped her hands in glee [no object]: the crowd was clapping and cheeringMore example sentences
- The crowd cheered, whistling and clapping their hands.
- The crowd, while clapping their hands, also tapped their foot to the music, as the models pranced around showing off the jewellery.
- The audience clapped loudly at the end of the lecture.
- 1.1Show approval of (a person or action) by clapping: Louisa clapped his performanceMore example sentences
- Then strolled out of the airport with my cousin who was clapping me on my performance.
- Cars hooted approval, crowds cheered and clapped the heroes.
- His father Gordon, a former York City star, asked the congregation to stand for a minute to applaud and clap Thomas, and ‘say thank you for knowing him’.
- 1.2Strike the palms of (one’s hands) together once, especially as a signal: the designer clapped his hands and the other girls exited the roomMore example sentences
- Anna clapped her hands together once.
- Andy joined in at the last minute and clapped her hands together once.
- Maybe you should clap your hands once and knock your heels together three times.
- 1.3(Of a bird) flap (its wings) audibly: the hawk shook itself and clapped its wingsMore example sentences
flap, beat, flutter
- Big sodden bales sat in the small high-hedged fresh-cut fields, a pigeon clapped in the alders and misty rain filled a steel grey sky.
- At the sound, the birds rise from their night places; they clap their wide, black wings and settle again.
- 2Slap (someone) encouragingly on the back or shoulder: as they parted, he clapped Owen on the backMore example sentences
- So very, very, quietly… Drew claps Emily on the shoulder.
- With a crooked smile, he claps Doug on the shoulder.
- Wyatt nodded sympathetically, clapping him on the shoulder.
- 2.1Place (a hand) briefly against or over one’s mouth or forehead as a gesture of dismay or regret: he swore and clapped a hand to his foreheadMore example sentences
- She was grabbed again from behind and this time a big, scaly, clawed hand was clapped over her mouth.
- Another hand was clapped over his mouth, muffling the sound.
- You clap your hand to your forehead and trot back upstairs to change into a pair of jeans.
nounBack to top
- 1.1A friendly slap or pat on the back or shoulder.More example sentences
- Mark gave him a friendly clap on the shoulder, ‘ah, don't worry about it, you'll find out sooner or later right?’
- She smiled, giving both of them a friendly clap on the shoulder.
- With a clap on the shoulder for me and a kiss for Willow, he went to bed.
- 2An explosive sound, especially of thunder: a clap of thunder echoed through the valleyMore example sentences
- A loud clap of thunder sounded and rain could be heard pelting against the roof.
- ‘At the front desk we heard the explosion starting like a clap of thunder and then it kept rolling,’ she said.
- Before the two could get on with their innocent, child-like play, however, a loud clap of thunder echoed throughout the skies, which had turned dark from a while ago.
clap eyes on
- see eye.
clap hold of
- • informal Grab someone or something roughly or abruptly.More example sentences
- The men, without saying a word, clapped hold of him and marched him off.
clap someone in jail (or irons)
- Put someone in prison (or in chains): the ship’s captain had the mutineers clapped in ironsMore example sentences
- A cynical immigration official claps James in jail upon his arrival.
- He may as well have clapped me in irons and commenced flogging in front of the herds of law-abiding legal visitors.
- The dissident has said he aims to run for president against 24-year incumbent, although the president clapped him in jail for a lesser act of defiance only a few years ago.
clap something on
- Abruptly impose a restrictive or punitive measure: most countries clapped on tariffs to protect their farmersMore example sentences
- Along busy streets, bright signs for Coke, Pepsi, Citibank, Bell South, Papa John's, KFC, Marriott - even Starbucks - could vanish if Peru chose to clap tariffs on those products.
Old English clappan 'throb, beat', of imitative origin. sense 1 of the verb dates from late Middle English.