You should know this word, it’ll be useful in years to come.
1 a group of sycophantic followers: the president was surrounded by a claque of scheming bureaucrats.
2 a group of people hired to applaud (or heckle) a performer or public speaker.
mid 19th century: French, from claquer ‘to clap.’ The practice of paying members of an audience for their support originated at the Paris opera.
Note that this is different from clique, which is “a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them.” While it is mildly pejorative, we all have our little cliques; very few of us are dishonest enough to pay for a claque.