verb (used without object)

to clap the hands as an expression of approval, appreciation, acclamation, etc.: They applauded wildly at the end of the opera.
to express approval; give praise; acclaim.

verb (used with object)

to clap the hands so as to show approval, appreciation, etc., of: to applaud an actor; to applaud a speech.
to praise or express approval of: to applaud a person's ambition.

Origin of applaud

1530–40; < Latin applaudere, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + plaudere to clap the hands
Related formsap·plaud·er, nounap·plaud·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·ap·plaud, verbre·ap·plaud, verbself-ap·plaud·ing, adjectiveun·ap·plaud·ed, adjectiveun·ap·plaud·ing, adjectivewell-ap·plaud·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for applaud

Contemporary Examples of applaud

Historical Examples of applaud

  • But self-improvement is a dull game when there is no one to applaud your score.

  • I had an indescribable sense that I ought to applaud, as if I were a public meeting.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • And every body will applaud an event that every body expects.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What are you the worse if the people hiss at you, so you applaud yourself?

    The Praise of Folly

    Desiderius Erasmus

  • When he spoke all was tranquility of attention, and every mouth was open to applaud.


    William Godwin

British Dictionary definitions for applaud



to indicate approval of (a person, performance, etc) by clapping the hands
(usually tr) to offer or express approval or praise of (an action, person, or thing)I applaud your decision
Derived Formsapplauder, nounapplauding, adjectiveapplaudingly, adverb

Word Origin for applaud

C15: from Latin applaudere to clap, from plaudere to beat, applaud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for applaud

late 15c. (implied in applauding), "to express agreement or approval; to praise," from Latin applaudere "to clap the hands in approbation, to approve by clapping hands; to strike upon, beat," from ad "to" (see ad-) + plaudere "to clap" (see plaudit). Sense of "express approval of" is from 1590s; that of "to clap the hands" is from 1590s. Figurative sense arrived in English before literal. Related: Applauded; applauding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper