Your word for the day

You should know this word, it’ll be useful in years to come.

claque |klak|
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.


  1. says

    Now I have a word for what I was thinking of. Going to insert some subtext into a Changeling: The Lost game. True Fae who likes admirers. Whenever someone disagrees with him, a cardboard cut-out of that person joins his claque and he ignores the real person.

  2. dutchmama says

    How long before this gets turned around and all of us raising our voices in protest are labeled a claque? I really feel like I don’t share a language with Trump supporters. What we each mean with “fake news”, “protestor” and “policy” seem irreconcilably different.

  3. davem says

    I was puzzled by all the cheering that went on at the meeting, considering his rubbishing of them a few days back. Makes sense.

  4. cartomancer says

    The word is 19th century, but the concept is much older. One of the major public duties of a poorer person in a traditional patron-client relationship in the Roman Empire was to attend public meetings when his patron was speaking and cheer him on or vote for his proposals. A bigwig with large numbers of clients could expect a significant turnout. During the last days of the Republic Cicero complained about various rival politicians organising their claques of clients into formal gangs to take over public proceedings, but his notion that it was a novelty was very much looking at the situation through rose-tinted spectacles. The Athenian Ekklesia was if anything even more susceptible to this kind of behaviour – Athens’s very own Donald Trump, Cleon of Cydathenaeum, is lambasted for it by both Aristophanes and Thucydides.

    Of course, back then actual votes on matters of policy were conducted by a show of hands at a public meeting, so having a group clustered together to make more of an impact was an effective voting tactic, rather than purely for display.

  5. says


    How long before this gets turned around and all of us raising our voices in protest are labeled a claque?

    That happened some time ago, when the right started claiming that protesters (no matter what the protests) were paid agitators. They claimed that about Black Lives Matter, and Standing Rock.

  6. gijoel says

    Also known as rent-a-crowd in Australian politics. Often a pejorative used to dismiss public opposition to a political policy.

  7. rq says

    According to the local media commenters (“trolls”), I got paid huge amounts of foreign money to participate in our little local walk. Many signs were in other languages (English, Russian) so that these foreign investors would know that their money was being spent appropriately, because after all, it was a paid march to undermine our local uber-awesome christian values.
    I would like to know where I’m supposed to send in my complaints form, though, because I haven’t received a cent as of lunchtime today!