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Clapperclaw

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Clapperclaw

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:08 pm

• clapperclaw •


Pronunciation: klæp-êr-klaw • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To claw or scratch with the nails, to fight tooth and nail. 2. To verbally abuse, to revile, vilify, vituperate, rail at.

Notes: Yep, it is a word and a real English one at that. Someone inclined to clapperclaw is a clapperclawer because he or she indulges in clapperclawing (the action noun). Clapperclawing also serves as an adjective describing clapperclawing individuals.

In Play: Today's Good Word must be legitimate, for Shakespeare himself used it several times: In The Merry Wives of Windsor (ii. Iii. 59) the host proclaims to Dr. Caius, who has just threatened to cut Sir Hugh's ears: "He will clapper-claw thee tightly, bully." Even today, it crops up in half-serious expressions like this: "Donny Brooke picked the wrong person to clapperclaw when he clapperclawed May Hemme; she gives such abuse better than she takes it."

Word History: Today's Good Word obviously began its life as a joke, but one that found a cozy home in the English lexicon. The word has been around since the 16th century and appears several times in the works of Shakespeare, including the one mentioned above. This word is a compound made up of clapper and claw. The term clapper is a joking reference to the hand since we clap with our hands. Claw is also a figurative reference to the nails. Where these two words come from is rather mysterious. We find traces of both in various other Germanic languages but nothing convincing outside Germanic. Clap may be onomatopoeic, but that explanation would not fit claw. (We would not like Leslie Nivens to clapperclaw us for omitting credit for the suggestion of today's Good Word, so thank you, Leslie. It is an amazing word.)
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Re: Clapperclaw

Postby MTC » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:57 pm

claporclaw: (archaic) Post-play exhortation to audience by Elizabethian stage manager.
(compound of "clap or claw.")

Editor's Note: This raw expression gradually gave way to, "Let's have a big hand for" and the like under pressure from the Stage Actors' Guild.
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Re: Clapperclaw

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:07 pm

MTC: I have finally learned to use the little yellow faces. It wasn't difficult once I set my mind to it. Your offerings are either interesting and dependable or interesting and bald faced lies. If your post on this Goodword is from your Apocrapha, let us know so I will be able to respond with a :D , or an :oops:.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Clapperclaw

Postby MTC » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:47 am

"(B)ald-faced lies" set me back a bit, Philip. I prefer to think of my little offerings as "fictions" rather than attempts to deceive.
But your irritated tone suggests I may be too successful in my parodies, e.g., definition of "clapporclaw." I'll use the Apocrypha tag henceforth to avoid misunderstandings. Emoticons, maybe not.
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Re: Clapperclaw

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:37 am

MTC: No disrespect intended. Sometimes I am too dense to catch a joke. I'm not much on smiley faces either.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Clapperclaw

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:19 pm

If you should ever have a question about whether one of my posts is Humor or not, assume that it is. I am often sarcastic, or at least ironic, and then frequently accused of having "dry" humor, whatever that is. Plus, it will make a great cover for my more stupid remarks!
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