Definition of claque
1 : a group hired to applaud at a performance
2 : a group of sycophants
claque was our Word of the Day on 01/08/2015. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of claque
French, from claquer to clap, of imitative origin
First Known Use: 1848
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