\ ˈklak How to pronounce claque (audio) \

Definition of claque

1 : a group hired to applaud at a performance
2 : a group of sycophants

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Did You Know?

The word claque might call to mind the sound of a clap, and that's no accident. Claque is a French borrowing that descends from the verb claquer, meaning "to clap," and the noun claque, meaning "a clap." Those French words in turn originated in imitation of the sound associated with them. English speakers borrowed claque in the 19th century. At that time, the practice of infiltrating audiences with hired members was very common to French theater culture. Claque members received money and free tickets to laugh, cry, shout-and of course clap-in just the right spots, hopefully influencing the rest of the audience to do the same.

Examples of claque in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Late Saturday afternoon, the former two-term Colorado governor was wandering—almost unrecognized—on the fringes of a claque of Joe Biden supporters after the end of South Carolina Democratic convention in Columbia. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Waist-Deep in the ‘Big Muddle’," 24 June 2019 The satirical elements, the aforementioned claques, are harder to stage. Chris Jones,, "'Merrily We Roll Along' is Sondheim's wisdom on life pushing us forward," 31 Jan. 2018 The people who run them make up a claque of international bagmen, shaking down whole countries and bankrupting cities as though the entire world was their goodie bag. Charles P. Pierce,, "Burn It All Down: It's Time For Every Last Coward Who Enabled Larry Nassar To Pay For Their Sins," 24 Jan. 2018 The bill passed the House because the Freedom Caucus, that claque of unreconstructed extremists who hold the balance of power there, gave in a little. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Nobody Knows How to Play This Game Anymore," 19 Jan. 2018 Groser and his staff had spent months researching Hillary Clinton, calculating who among her vast claque would win positions of power and influence in her administration. Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, "How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington," 30 Aug. 2017 A Roomba modified by Craig Kalpakjian to carry a claque of live cockroaches around the room is equal parts sinister and hilarious. The New Yorker, "“Truth Bistro”," 31 Mar. 2017 Those suspicions seem to be borne out when Cruz joined a claque of fellow conservatives to oppose the legislation. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "GOP ObamaCare hopes hang on Cruz plan," 13 July 2017 In his 14th season, James has become a principal in the debate between his fans and the Michael Jordan claque over who is the Greatest of All-Time. Bill Livingston,, "Cavaliers LeBron James faces another 'unbeatable' Warriors team in NBA Finals: Bill Livingston (photos, video)," 31 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'claque.' 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 claque

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for claque

French, from claquer to clap, of imitative origin

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Time Traveler for claque

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The first known use of claque was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Claque.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on claque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with claque Encyclopedia article about claque

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