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


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

Look at some of the biggest advances that have been paid out over the past decade: Hillary Clinton's books were huge missed opportunities to come up with a message, something a little different other than just warmed-over political claptrap. Marisa Guthrie, The Hollywood Reporter, "James Comey's Book Agents on "Toxic" Trump Memoirs and Bill Clinton's #MeToo Fail," 12 July 2018 Judging by the latest welfare beneficiaries, those elites’ tastes remain as degraded as ever, eschewing the good, the beautiful and the true – and anything timeless and transcendent – in favor of soul-killing PC claptrap. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "His play about gender got a new ending – during the HB2 debate. Now it premieres at Actor’s Theatre. | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 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 When will Democrats tire of this socialist claptrap and rely on their common sense? WSJ, "Soda Taxes, Laffer Curves And the Public’s Waistline," 18 Aug. 2017 The Orlando Sentinel's Scott Maxwell calls this a nakedly political bit of claptrap that exempts the only unions that have an outside chance of endorsing Republicans. Dan Sweeney,, "Power Lunch: "Intellectual freedom" survey in Bright Futures bill," 18 Jan. 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 This defense is the most morally and ethically shallow claptrap offered up to public discourse since Trump took office. Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Magazine, "Jared and Ivanka Are Not Good People. They Are Enablers.," 12 Apr. 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

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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Dictionary Entries near claptrap

clapper valve

clap skate



clap up



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Time Traveler for claptrap

The first known use of claptrap was in 1799

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English Language Learners Definition of claptrap

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

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Comments on claptrap

What made you want to look up claptrap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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