\ 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 Vladimir Putin in Russia and Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan help round out Europe’s dictatorial claque, with Hungary’s Victor Orban eyeing potential entry into their ranks. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarusian Dictatorship Is Going Down in Flames," 10 Aug. 2020 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, "Paul Thomas Anderson’s Best Work — on Video," 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, "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

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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Cite this Entry

“Claque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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