Word of the day

The word for today is…

claque (noun) – 1. A group of persons hired to applaud at a performance.
2. A group of fawning admirers.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : Hired groups or squads to applaud actors and performers are nothing new. The Roman author Suetonius (75–150 a.d.) in his “Life of Nero” (chapter 20, in Lives of the Twelve Caesars) reports that Nero hired 5,000 young men and taught them three different kinds of applause to use in his performances. In Paris by the mid-19th century, claques were organised into “platoons” whose various “squads” were rehearsed to laugh, cry, comment on, and encourage the actors. The great conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867–1957) imposed discipline and decorum on audiences and was instrumental in suppressing claques. Claque entered English in the 19th century.


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Peter is a fourth-generation New Zealander, with his mother’s and father’s folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, three cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City committee.

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