There are 2 main definitions of clap in English:

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clap1

Line breaks: clap
Pronunciation: /klap
 
/

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 cheering
More 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 performance
More 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 room
More 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 wings
More example sentences
  • 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.
Synonyms
flap, beat, flutter
2Slap (someone) encouragingly on the back or shoulder: as they parted, he clapped Owen on the back
More 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 forehead
More 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.

noun

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1An act of striking together the palms of the hands: when they stop I give them a clap there was no crescendo of applause, just a lone volley of claps
1.1A friendly slap or pat on the back or shoulder.
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.
Synonyms
2An explosive sound, especially of thunder: a clap of thunder echoed through the valley
More 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.
Synonyms
crack, crash, bang, boom;

Origin

Old English clappan 'throb, beat', of imitative origin. sense 1 of the verb dates from late Middle English.

More
  • rap from (Middle English):

    The word rap, in the sense of a blow, is of Scandinavian origin and is probably like clap (Late Middle English) and flap (Middle English), meant to imitate the sound. Since the end of the 18th century rap has been associated with rebuke and punishment, as in the phrase a rap on the knuckles for a sharp criticism. In early 20th-century American English the word developed the further meanings of ‘a criminal charge’ and ‘a prison sentence’. If you were acquitted you were said to beat the rap. To take the rap was to be punished or blamed, especially for something where other people were wholly or partly responsible. Performers of rap music tend to have a dangerous, bad-boy image, but the root of the term is not the ‘criminal charge’ or ‘prison’ senses but the old northern English sense ‘conversation, chat’. This was carried over the Atlantic, and rap in the sense ‘a talk or discussion’ is now an American use. The first reference to rap music comes in 1979.

Phrases

clap eyes on

1
see eye.

clap hold of

2
informal Grab someone or something roughly or abruptly.
Example sentences
  • The men, without saying a word, clapped hold of him and marched him off.

clap someone in jail (or irons)

3
Put someone in prison (or in chains): the ship’s captain had the mutineers clapped in irons
More 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.

Phrasal verbs

clap something on

1
Abruptly impose a restrictive or punitive measure: most countries clapped on tariffs to protect their farmers
More 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.

Words that rhyme with clap

bap, cap, chap, crap, dap, entrap, enwrap, flap, frap, gap, giftwrap, hap, Jap, knap, lap, Lapp, map, nap, nappe, pap, rap, sap, schappe, scrap, slap, snap, strap, tap, trap, wrap, yap, zap

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There are 2 main definitions of clap in English:

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clap2

Line breaks: clap
Pronunciation: /klap
 
/

noun

[mass noun] (usually the clap) informal
A venereal disease, especially gonorrhoea: she has given him the clap he was told he had a mild dose of clap

Origin

late 16th century: from Old French clapoir 'venereal bubo'.

More
  • rap from (Middle English):

    The word rap, in the sense of a blow, is of Scandinavian origin and is probably like clap (Late Middle English) and flap (Middle English), meant to imitate the sound. Since the end of the 18th century rap has been associated with rebuke and punishment, as in the phrase a rap on the knuckles for a sharp criticism. In early 20th-century American English the word developed the further meanings of ‘a criminal charge’ and ‘a prison sentence’. If you were acquitted you were said to beat the rap. To take the rap was to be punished or blamed, especially for something where other people were wholly or partly responsible. Performers of rap music tend to have a dangerous, bad-boy image, but the root of the term is not the ‘criminal charge’ or ‘prison’ senses but the old northern English sense ‘conversation, chat’. This was carried over the Atlantic, and rap in the sense ‘a talk or discussion’ is now an American use. The first reference to rap music comes in 1979.

Definition of clap in:

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