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[klap-er] /ˈklæp ər/
a person who applauds.
the tongue of a bell.
Slang. the tongue.
Usually, clappers. two flat sticks held between the fingers and struck rhythmically against each other to produce abrupt, sharp sounds.
Printing. a platen press.
1250-1300; Middle English claper. See clap1, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for clapper
  • The first stroke of the clapper against its brazen wall shook the wood-work on which he was standing.
  • Often the singer keeps time with a pair of tiny bells and a small clapper in his hand.
  • With every strike of its clapper, one swimmer could come up for a gasp of air.
  • clapper to hinge arm connection shall be such that the unit cannot be unscrewed by fluid flow.
  • The slightly larger king rail has a more brownish appearance than the grayish clapper rail.
  • However, a clapper rail and kiang died because of complications.
British Dictionary definitions for clapper


a person or thing that claps
a contrivance for producing a sound of clapping, as for scaring birds
Also called tongue. a small piece of metal suspended within a bell that causes it to sound when made to strike against its side
a slang word for tongue (sense 1)
(Brit, informal) go like the clappers, run like the clappers, move like the clappers, to move extremely fast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clapper

late 13c., agent noun from clap (v.). Meaning "tongue of a bell" is from late 14c. Old English had clipur. Meaning "hinged board snapped in front of a camera at the start of filming to synchronize picture and sound" is from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for clapper

musicalmusical instrument consisting of pieces of wood, bone, metal, or other sonorous substance either held in both hands or, fastened together, held in one hand, sometimes with a handle, and struck against each other. Clappers have been played throughout the world since ancient times, often with a ritual, warning, work-coordinating, or signaling function, rather than a musical one.

Learn more about clapper with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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