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

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 For all the claptrap Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have spouted about the filibuster facilitating bipartisan compromise, their opposition to eliminating it is most intelligible as a matter of material politics. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2022 Conspiracy claptrap inspired by right-wing radio hosts. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 This is not some traditional sentimental claptrap about a family saying goodbye to the old homestead. Christopher Arnott,, 19 Mar. 2022 This is not just culture war claptrap about a heretofore obscure academic theory. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 23 June 2021 This is Spielberg at his most pure and sensational, an undiluted cinematic experience that lacks any of his sentimental claptrap and steers clear of his tendency for multiple endings. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 14 Dec. 2021 All this claptrap offends the romantic ethnicity being peddled, especially the tenor of Irish heritage that Branagh’s remote style misrepresents in nearly every scene. Armond White, National Review, 19 Nov. 2021 No outside controversial claptrap allowed during Our Time. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 May 2021 And jettisoning silly claptrap about good guys and bad guys, right and wrong, and a clear, easily definable line that demarcates it all. Andy Meek, BGR, 4 May 2021 See More

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.

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of claptrap was in 1799

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Dictionary Entries Near claptrap



clap up

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Statistics for claptrap

Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Claptrap.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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