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[klap-trap] /ˈklæpˌtræp/
pretentious but insincere or empty language:
His speeches seem erudite but analysis reveals them to be mere claptrap.
any artifice or expedient for winning applause or impressing the public.
Origin of claptrap
1720-30; clap1 + trap1
1. sham, humbug, hokum, nonsense, bunk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for claptrap
  • As a reviewer, he is as adept at unwrapping cinematic artistry and expertise as he is at dissecting mediocrity and claptrap.
  • Your low level radiation nonsense is utter claptrap.
  • The sad part is the editors for some reason chose to not only publish the claptrap but to endorse it.
  • Any suggestion to the contrary is bourgeois nationalist claptrap.
  • His claptrap about catering to status anxieties is patronizing nonsense.
  • Ignore it and you are at the risk of spouting anti-science claptrap yourself.
  • Actually, many of them probably only pretend to believe the claptrap they espouse.
British Dictionary definitions for claptrap


noun (informal)
contrived but foolish talk
insincere and pretentious talk: politicians' claptrap
Word Origin
C18 (in the sense: something contrived to elicit applause): from clap1 + trap1
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 claptrap

c.1730, "trick to 'catch' applause," a stage term; from clap (v.) + trap (n.). Extended sense of "cheap, showy language" is from 1819; hence "nonsense, rubbish."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for claptrap



Nonsense; mendacious cant; bullshit

[1819+; fr early 1700s theatrical use, literally ''a trap toget a clap,'' a device, verbal or otherwise, for milking applause]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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