- 1 [intransitive, transitive] to hit your open hands together several times to show that you approve of or have enjoyed something The audience cheered and clapped. clap somebody/something Everyone clapped us when we went up to get our prize.
- 2 [intransitive, transitive] to hit your open hands together Everyone clapped in time to the music. clap your hands She clapped her hands in delight. He clapped his hands for silence.
- 3[transitive] clap somebody on the back/shoulder to lightly hit somebody with your open hand, usually in a friendly way ‘Cheer up Tony,’ I said, and clapped him on the shoulder.
- 4[transitive] clap something/somebody + adv./prep. to put something/somebody somewhere quickly and suddenly ‘Oh dear!’ she cried, clapping a hand over her mouth. to clap somebody in irons/jail/prison In the old days they would have clapped you in jail for that. Word Originverb Old English clappan ‘throb, beat’, of imitative origin. Sense (1) dates from late Middle English.
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BrE BrE//klæp//; NAmE NAmE//klæp//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they clap
BrE BrE//klæp//; NAmE NAmE//klæp//he / she / it claps
BrE BrE//klæps//; NAmE NAmE//klæps//past simple clapped
BrE BrE//klæpt//; NAmE NAmE//klæpt//past participle clapped
BrE BrE//klæpt//; NAmE NAmE//klæpt//-ing form clapping
BrE BrE//ˈklæpɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈklæpɪŋ//