clap back

clapped back; clapping back; claps back

Definition of clap back

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

US, informal
: to respond quickly and sharply to criticism A lot of times when someone says something nasty to you online, your gut reaction is to clap back right away. It's always good to take a cooling-off period—I recommend sleeping on it.— Patrick Crowley This week, Mandy Moore clapped back at haters on Instagram after people accused her of Photoshopping her social media photos … "I am 5'10 and a size 6. I have NEVER photoshopped pictures … That's not what I'm about. If you're going to be rude about people's bodies, go elsewhere."— Kitty Lindsay


clap·​back | \ ˈklap-ˌbak How to pronounce clapback (audio) \
variants: or less commonly clap back
plural clapbacks also clap backs

Definition of clapback (Entry 2 of 2)

US, informal
: a quick, sharp, and effective response to criticism Not to be confused with a garden-variety diss, a clapback is deemed by most as a targeted, often viciously acute comeback intended to place someone in much-needed check.— Aaron Edwards and Ira Madison III We all love a good clapback. It's a comeback but with that extra oomph.— Mathew Rodriguez The art of the clap back is a study in discernment, wit, and instinct, which is why it should come as no surprise that Rihanna, Internet queen, is the reigning champ of shutting down the haters.— Cady Lang

First Known Use of clap back


1990, in the meaning defined above


2003, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of clap back was in 1990

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Cite this Entry

“Clap back.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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