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

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 If, in 1963, Patricia is the earnest naïf of the claque of housewives, Charlene is the wild card. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 10 Nov. 2023 Seizing and freezing the Nazarbayev claque’s Western assets—their real estate and private jets, their high-end artwork and fleets of automobiles—would, at the very least, offer succor to protesters who’ve just put their lives on the line to protest the regime’s avarice. Casey Michel, The New Republic, 12 Jan. 2022 Independent of a single benefactor or claque of them, interposing their own agendas. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 18 Nov. 2022 The problem isn’t with the 35,000 FBI agents and staff who keep the country safe, but with a claque of insiders who have abandoned the ethos of fairness and impartiality. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 1 Sep. 2022 Yet the medicine, most commonly used as a dewormer for farm animals and household pets, has been taken up as a cause by a right-wing claque of anti-government and anti-vaccine activists. Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2021 While Anderson’s feature films encourage exhortations from a nihilistic claque, the little-remarked-upon Haim videos offer welcome emotional accord similar to Altman’s example. Armond White, National Review, 1 Apr. 2020 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, 24 June 2019 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, 30 Aug. 2017 See More

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

Word History


French, from claquer to clap, of imitative origin

First Known Use

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of claque was in 1848


Dictionary Entries Near claque

Cite this Entry

“Claque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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