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clap·​trap ˈklap-ˌtrap How to pronounce claptrap (audio)
: pretentious nonsense : trash


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

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
The cast also includes Jack Black as the voice of the robot claptrap, as well as Ariana Greenblatt, Florian Munteanu, Haley Bennett and Édgar Ramirez. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Feb. 2024 But one is accustomed to hearing this claptrap from the right-wing fringe, not from anyone reaching Johnson’s elevated position in the government. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 One is that a Kennedy candidacy that gains any real traction alone will increase the political credibility of anti-vax claptrap, which already has more than enough. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 19 June 2023 That meant rolling home with bloody scrapes full of gravel past old farmhouses cheap enough for mailmen and jazz musicians to buy, build claptrap chicken coops and grow weed in the backyard. Daniel Duane, New York Times, 30 May 2023 In ours, though, bureaucrats, corporations, and risk managers seem to have grasped that engaging in critical claptrap about popular culture – Marx’s ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’ – asks easier gestures of them than the work of real administration. Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2023 Speaking of transgressions by state senators: Four of them shouldn't waste the Senate's time bringing up a petty, partisan and laughably inaccurate resolution spewing hateful claptrap that advances narrow partisan bias and insults all our intelligence, especially Black people's. John Brummett, Arkansas Online, 15 Feb. 2021 There was no showbiz claptrap. Drew Fortune, Vulture, 2 May 2022 What a load of claptrap. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 30 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'claptrap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



clap entry 2; from its attempt to win applause

First Known Use


1799, in the meaning defined above


1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of claptrap was in 1799

Dictionary Entries Near claptrap

Cite this Entry

“Claptrap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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