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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.
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.
Contemporary Examples

Geoffrey Kabaservice applauds Paul Ryan the man – but warns of the direction in which Ryanism will lead the GOP.
Paul Ryan: Good Man, Wrong Plan David Frum August 12, 2012

He applauds the many choices available, but still believes there is a need for public television.
Television’s Vast Wasteland Eleanor Clift May 10, 2011

And Stacey Oliver applauds the women on the show who have successful careers; she just wishes she could see a little more of it.
Why Teens Love Real Housewives Anna David January 4, 2011

American Islamic Forum for Democracy said it “applauds” the news.
Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan Haven Asra Q. Nomani May 1, 2011

Dr. Kent Sepkowitz applauds the CDC investigators for straying off-message.
CDC Researchers Find Lower Mortality Rates Among Overweight People Kent Sepkowitz January 2, 2013

Historical Examples

The author is, of course, one of them, and he applauds by making too many such translations.
Ceres’ Runaway Alice Meynell

applauds Clarissa for the generosity of her spirit, and the greatness of her mind.
Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson

You and I may call that cowardliness, but the party calls it honour and applauds every time.
The Voice of the People Ellen Glasgow

“Jim” Fisk had traits like these, but who now applauds them?
The Arena Various

He applauds or condemns the orators, cheers or hoots with all the vehemence of an excited partisan.
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 2, July, 1850. Various

to indicate approval of (a person, performance, etc) by clapping the hands
(usually transitive) to offer or express approval or praise of (an action, person, or thing): I applaud your decision

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.


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  • Applauses

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  • Apple a day

    A small preventive treatment wards off serious problems, as in He exercises regularly—an apple a day is his motto. This idiom shortens the proverb An apple a day keeps the doctor away, first cited about 1630.

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