Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

claptrap

\KLAP-trap\ , noun;
1.
pretentious but insincere or empty language: His speeches seem erudite but analysis reveals them to be mere claptrap.
2.
any artifice or expedient for winning applause or impressing the public.
Quotes:
What is she to sneer at a brave, enduring race of fellow-beings! Dress them in tawdry rags, locate them anywhere on the continent, write out their history in sounding claptrap, and she would be stirred by pathetic thrills.
-- John Trafford Clegg, David's Loom: a story of Rochdale's life in the early years of the nineteenth century, 1894
...it was on the whole an enormous piece of claptrap; the room, almost vacant when I entered, began to fill.
-- Charotte Brontë, Villette, 1853
Origin:
Claptrap came to English in the 1720s as a portmanteau of clap and trap.
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