clap·​trap | \ ˈklap-ˌtrap How to pronounce claptrap (audio) \

Definition of claptrap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: pretentious nonsense : trash



Definition of claptrap (Entry 2 of 2)

: characterized by or suggestive of claptrap especially : of a cheap showy nature claptrap sentiment

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Examples of claptrap in a Sentence

Noun His entire speech was nothing but claptrap. I'm tired of hearing all that claptrap about how hard her life is.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The speculations are never heavy-handed or bogged down with obscure philosophic claptrap. Globe Staff,, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 There isn’t an ounce of kitsch or flowery claptrap. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "10 great books that got lost in the noise of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 Nor can the novelist answer why liberals have granted this claptrap such power. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Hari Kunzru’s Reckoning With the Far Right," 9 Sep. 2020 Something about marginal utility, blah blah, and some Keynesian claptrap about wondrous government spending. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Your 2020 Econ Crash Course," 12 July 2020 His style is more rooted in George Jones than the bro-country and hick-hop claptrap that until recently dominated the airwaves. Chuck Yarborough,, "Clint Black, Dashboard Confessional turn Also Playing into a history lesson," 26 Mar. 2018 And both their video ads on social media and the speeches at their convention were devoid of Marxist claptrap. The Economist, "Colombia’s FARC revolutionaries become a political party," 9 Sep. 2017 Nolan’s main argument—for a streaming company that still commits in some way to the cinema experience—is not some elitist claptrap, but a reasonable plea from an artist who believes that movies are best enjoyed, if possible, in movie theaters. David Sims, The Atlantic, "What Christopher Nolan Gets Right About Netflix," 26 July 2017 Some cosmic claptrap is invoked, and the four are allowed back to Earth for one final concert. Michael Heaton,, "Great Lakes Theater's 'Forever Plaid' shines on at Hanna Theatre (review)," 18 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'claptrap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of claptrap


1799, in the meaning defined above


1815, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for claptrap


clap entry 2; from its attempt to win applause

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Time Traveler for claptrap

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The first known use of claptrap was in 1799

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Cite this Entry

“Claptrap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for claptrap



English Language Learners Definition of claptrap

informal : words, ideas, etc., that are very foolish or stupid

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