Ask Difference

Applause vs. Acclaim — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 17, 2024
Applause involves clapping to show approval or enjoyment, typically immediate and at live events; acclaim refers to public praise, often for artistic or intellectual achievements and can be expressed in various forms over time.
Applause vs. Acclaim — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Applause and Acclaim


Key Differences

Applause is a spontaneous reaction, typically expressed through clapping, and occurs in real-time as an audience responds to a performance or speech. This form of appreciation is immediate and often occurs at live events such as concerts, plays, or speeches. Whereas acclaim involves public praise and recognition that may be expressed through words, awards, or extensive media coverage. Acclaim is often associated with significant achievements or contributions in various fields, including arts, literature, and science.
Applause is generally a collective act that involves multiple people showing their approval or enjoyment together. It is a shared, communal experience that can enhance the atmosphere of an event, reinforcing the performer's or speaker's connection with their audience. On the other hand, acclaim can be bestowed by individuals or organizations and often results in a lasting reputation boost for the recipient. It can include critical praise, prestigious awards, or favorable reviews, which contribute to a person's or work's long-term recognition.
Applause is usually momentary and confined to the event during which it occurs. It does not typically have a lasting impact beyond the immediate gratification it provides to the recipient. In contrast, acclaim can have enduring effects, influencing a person’s career or the legacy of a particular work. Acclaimed works and individuals are often remembered and revered long after the initial recognition, influencing future generations.
The nature of applause makes it a direct and instinctive form of feedback, often perceived as a genuine and heartfelt reaction to a performance. It allows performers to gauge the immediate response of their audience. Acclaim, however, can be more calculated and formal, sometimes influenced by critical standards or popular trends, and might not always reflect spontaneous audience reaction.
While applause is limited to scenarios where performers or speakers can physically witness it, acclaim can be received and recognized globally, irrespective of geographical constraints. This global recognition often plays a crucial role in shaping an individual’s or work's international stature and accessibility.

Comparison Chart


Immediate and spontaneous
Formal and enduring


Clapping and occasionally cheering
Praise, awards, reviews


Live events
Various, including media and ceremonies


Short-term emotional gratification
Long-term reputation and legacy

Audience Interaction

Direct, involves performer-audience
Indirect, can be mediated through third parties

Compare with Definitions


Collective clapping as a response.
Applause filled the theater at the end of the play.


Public praise or approval.
Her novel received widespread acclaim from critics.


Expression of approval by clapping hands.
The audience's applause after the concert was deafening.


Positive reception from the public or critics.
His performance was acclaimed as one of the best of the year.


Immediate audience feedback.
The comedian adjusted his routine based on the level of applause.


Awards or honors as forms of recognition.
The scientist's work was acclaimed with several international awards.


Sign of enjoyment at a live performance.
Applause broke out as the curtain fell.


Recognition for artistic or intellectual achievements.
The film was met with critical acclaim.


Spontaneous approval expression.
Applause erupted after the moving speech.


Endorsement from reputable sources.
The artist earned acclaim for his innovative use of color.


Applause (Latin applaudere, to strike upon, clap) is primarily a form of ovation or praise expressed by the act of clapping, or striking the palms of the hands together, in order to create noise. Audiences usually applaud after a performance, such as a musical concert, speech, or play, as a sign of enjoyment and approval.


To praise enthusiastically and often publicly.


Approval expressed especially by the clapping of hands.


To acknowledge or declare with enthusiastic approval
She was acclaimed person of the year.


Praise; commendation
A scientific discovery that won critical applause.


To shout approval.


The act of applauding; approbation and praise publicly expressed by the clapping of hands, stamping or tapping of the feet, acclamation, huzzas, or other means; marked commendation.


Enthusiastic praise; acclamation.


The act of applauding; approbation and praise publicly expressed by clapping the hands, stamping or tapping with the feet, acclamation, huzzas, or other means; marked commendation.
The brave man seeks not popular applause.


To shout; to call out.


A demonstration of approval by clapping the hands together


(transitive) To express great approval (for).
A highly-acclaimed novel
A widely-acclaimed article


To salute or praise with great approval; to compliment; to applaud; to welcome enthusiastically.


To claim.


(transitive) To declare by acclamations.


To elect (a politician, etc.) to an office automatically because no other candidates run; elect by acclamation.


(poetic) An acclamation; a shout of applause.


(obsolete) A claim.


To applaud.


To declare by acclamations.
While the shouting crowdAcclaims thee king of traitors.


To shout; as, to acclaim my joy.


To shout applause.




Enthusiastic approval;
The book met with modest acclaim
He acknowledged the plaudits of the crowd
They gave him more eclat than he really deserved


Praise vociferously;
The critics hailed the young pianist as a new Rubinstein


Clap one's hands or shout after performances to indicate approval

Common Curiosities

Can applause have a lasting impact like acclaim?

Applause is generally momentary and does not have the enduring impact that acclaim can have on a person's career or a work's legacy.

What is the primary form of applause?

Applause primarily involves clapping hands to show approval.

How does acclaim differ in its expression from applause?

Acclaim can include verbal praise, awards, or written reviews, unlike applause, which is mostly clapping.

Can applause occur in settings other than live performances?

While most common at live events, applause can also occur in meetings, conferences, or any group setting as a sign of agreement or appreciation.

What role does the audience play in applause and acclaim?

In applause, the audience directly interacts by clapping, while in acclaim, the audience or critics may indirectly contribute through reviews or awards.

What venues are common for receiving applause?

Theatres, concert halls, and sports arenas are common venues for receiving applause.

Is acclaim always positive?

Yes, acclaim is inherently positive as it denotes approval and commendation.

How does acclaim affect an artist's reputation?

Acclaim can significantly enhance an artist's reputation, opening up new opportunities and establishing a lasting legacy.

Can acclaim be influenced by cultural trends?

Yes, acclaim can be influenced by cultural trends, societal norms, and popular standards at the time.

How does the spontaneity of applause compare to acclaim?

Applause is more spontaneous and immediate, whereas acclaim is often the result of considered judgment and extended appreciation.

Is it possible for someone to receive acclaim without applause?

Yes, individuals can receive acclaim through awards or critiques without the immediate physical gesture of applause.

Can acclaim influence future works of an artist or author?

Yes, acclaim can influence future works by boosting confidence, providing greater visibility, and securing more resources or opportunities.

Does applause require a large audience?

No, applause can occur in any setting where people are gathered, regardless of the size.

Is applause always related to positive feedback?

Typically, applause is a positive response, though it can be polite or obligatory in some contexts.

How do critics contribute to acclaim?

Critics contribute to acclaim through evaluations, reviews, and recommendations that influence public and professional perceptions.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Plywood vs. Basswood
Next Comparison
Floral vs. Flower

Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms