From Middle English clacken, clakken, claken, from Old English *clacian ("to slap, clap, clack"; suggested by clacu (“din; harm, injury”)), from Proto-Germanic *klakōną (“to clap, chirp”), from Proto-Indo-European *glag- (“to make a noise, clap, twitter”), from Proto-Indo-European *gal- (“to roop, scream, shout”). Cognate with Scots clake, claik (“to utter cries", also "to bedaub, sully with a sticky substance”), Dutch klakken (“to clack, crack”), Low German klakken (“to slap on, daub”), Norwegian klakke (“to clack, strike, knock”), Icelandic klaka (“to twitter, chatter, wrangle, dispute”).
clack (plural clacks)
- An abrupt, sharp sound, especially one made by two hard objects colliding repetitively; a sound midway between a click and a clunk.
- Anything that causes a clacking noise, such as the clapper of a mill, or a clack valve.
- Clatter; prattle.
- Whose chief intent is to vaunt his spiritual clack.
- (intransitive) To make a sudden, sharp noise, or succession of noises; to click.
- We heard Mr. Hodson's whip clacking on the shoulders of the poor little wretches.
- (transitive) To cause to make a sudden, sharp noise, or succession of noises; to click.
- To chatter or babble; to utter rapidly without consideration.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Feltham to this entry?)
- 1953, Janice Holt Giles, The Kentuckians
- The women bunched up in little droves and let their tongues clack, and the men herded together and passed a jug around and, to tell the truth, let their tongues clack too.
- (Britain) To cut the sheep's mark off (wool), to make the wool weigh less and thus yield less duty.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.