claptrap

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Theater slang, c. 1730, from clap and trap, referring to theatrical techniques or gags used to incite applause.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

claptrap (countable and uncountable, plural claptraps)

  1. empty verbiage or nonsense [from early 19th c.]
  2. (historical) A device for producing a clapping sound in theaters.
  3. a trick or device to gain applause; humbug
    • 1868, Anthony Trollope, He Knew He Was Right XI
      There had been a suggestion that the child should be with her [while she answers the door], but the mother herself had rejected this. ‘It would be stagey,’ she had said, ‘and clap-trap. There is nothing I hate so much as that.’

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