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CLAPTRAP

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CLAPTRAP

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:07 pm

• claptrap •

Pronunciation: klæp-træp • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Empty, pompous and pretentious drivel designed to gain approval. 2. Nonsense (babble, balderdash, baloney, blather, blatherskite, bunkum, drivel, garbage, hooey, idiocy, malarkey, piffle, poppycock, rigmarole, rubbish, tommyrot, twaddle).

Notes: Today's Good Word is a bit on the slangy side and probably should be limited to conversation and informal writing. In its first sense it may be used in the plural, as in claptraps like 'God bless America' and 'Home, sweet home'. In the second sense it is a mass noun with no plural.

In Play: It would be a beautiful world if claptraps were flowers for we find them all around us every day: "When the Buncombe boys were found guilty of killing their parents, they offered the judge some claptrap about being orphans to get a lighter sentence." This is the first sense of claptrap. Today the word more often refers to sheer nonsense, as in the second meaning above: "The airwaves today are filled with mindless political claptrap."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from the theater where, in early 18th century England a clap trap was a cheap, showy line guaranteed to 'trap a clap' from the audience. The word claptrap went on to refer to any line guaranteed to generate applause or appreciation, such as "Britannia rules the waves". Finally, it came to mean any kind of nonsense or rubbish. Be careful not to confuse claptraps with the slapstick of 'slapstick' comedy, a thin, flat board with a handle and another flat board on top attached at one end so that it slaps the first making any blow with it sound much louder and worse than it is.
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Postby Perry » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:32 am

BS, absurdity, babble, balderdash, baloney, bananas, blather, bombast, bull, bunk, claptrap, craziness, drivel, fatuity, flightiness, folly, foolishness, fun, gab, gas, gibberish, giddiness, gobbledygook, hogwash, hooey, hot air, imprudence, inanity, irrationality, jazz, jest, jive, joke, ludicrousness, madness, mumbo jumbo, palaver, poppycock, prattle, pretense, ranting, rashness, rot, rubbish, scrawl, scribble, senselessness, silliness, soft soap, stupidity, thoughtlessness, trash, tripe, twaddle


According to Thesaurus.com, 39 synonyms for nonsense.
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Re: CLAPTRAP

Postby gailr » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:47 pm

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from the theater where, in early 18th century England a clap trap was a cheap, showy line guaranteed to 'trap a clap' from the audience. The word claptrap went on to refer to any line guaranteed to generate applause or appreciation, such as "Britannia rules the waves". Finally, it came to mean any kind of nonsense or rubbish.

A parallel English theatrical criticism from a couple centuries earlier: "That's villainous and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it."
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Postby sluggo » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:39 pm

Perry wrote:
BS, absurdity, ....>... twaddle


According to Thesaurus.com, 39 synonyms for nonsense.


How could they leave out flummery? Goes well with a dash of twaddle if I 'member my Dickens.

Well, of this list at least Palaver and Bunk have made the GoodWord main stage, as have the similarly-absent Codswallop, Malarkey, Swill and Blarney (twice). I suspect the good Doc is a softie for such synonyms. :D Ah jes' loooove them thar etymologies.

Still there must remain a few for the queue from this bottomless well. Personally I like balderdash , hooey, tommyrot and for extra credit, hokum.
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