claque

noun
\ ˈklak How to pronounce claque (audio) \

Definition of claque

1 : a group hired to applaud at a performance
2 : 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 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 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, cleveland.com, 31 May 2017 There’s a claque alongside to cheer the big boss and deride his doubters. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 13 Jan. 2017 See More

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.

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

Learn More About claque

Listen to Our Podcast About claque

Dictionary Entries Near claque

clapwort

claque

claqueur

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for claque

Cite this Entry

“Claque.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/claque. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on claque

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about claque

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!