Ask Difference

Clanger vs. Clapper — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 7, 2024
A clanger is a mistake or blunder, whereas a clapper is a device inside a bell that strikes to produce sound, or a person who applauds.
Clanger vs. Clapper — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Clanger and Clapper


Key Differences

A clanger is an informal term for a noticeable mistake or blunder, often used in British English. A clapper refers to the swinging metal piece inside a bell that strikes to create a ringing sound.
Clangers usually describe social or verbal errors, which may be embarrassing or humorous. Clappers, on the other hand, are mechanical parts necessary for bells to function, striking the bell wall to create a clear tone.
The term clanger can imply social faux pas in various settings, like misinterpreting a comment or making an inappropriate joke. Clappers can also refer to individuals who applaud during events, although less commonly.
Clangers are errors that people seek to avoid due to the potential embarrassment. Clappers are essential in bell design, giving bells their distinct, resonating sound.
Clangers are often not intended, sometimes resulting from poor communication or haste. Clappers, however, serve their intended function deliberately, producing the bell's intended sound upon striking.

Comparison Chart


A noticeable mistake or blunder
A bell's striking mechanism or a person who applauds

Common Usage

Describes social or verbal errors
Refers to bell mechanism or applause


Usually unintentional
Deliberate sound production


Can cause embarrassment
Creates resonant bell sound


Primarily used in informal settings
Mechanical or musical context

Compare with Definitions


A notable mistake or blunder, often embarrassing.
He dropped a clanger by calling her the wrong name.


A metal piece inside a bell that strikes to produce sound.
The bell rang loudly as the clapper hit its sides rhythmically.


An unintentional yet noticeable error.
He didn't mean to offend but ended up committing a clanger.


A mechanism designed to produce striking sounds.
The engineers adjusted the clapper's alignment for better performance.


A careless verbal slip, causing embarrassment.
During the meeting, she made a clanger by misquoting the statistics.


A person who claps in applause.
As the band finished, the enthusiastic clappers showed their appreciation.


An awkward or tactless mistake.
During the interview, she dropped a clanger by criticizing the company's policies.


The central striker in musical instruments like bells.
The bell tower's clapper was replaced to improve sound quality.


A faux pas in social or professional settings.
The politician's clanger made headlines in the press.


The moving component that creates ringing in a bell.
The old bell's clapper finally broke after years of heavy use.


A blunder; a faux pas.


One who applauds.


Something that clangs; an alarm bell (also figuratively).


The tongue of a bell.


The clapper of a bell, anything that strikes a bell or other metal object to make a ringing sound.


(Slang) The tongue of a garrulous person.


A very noticeable mistake; an attention-getting faux pas.
In his speech, the best man got the bride's name wrong. What a clanger!
He dropped a real clanger when he criticized the paraplegic for not standing.


Clappers Two flat pieces of wood held between the fingers and struck together rhythmically.


A mistake made by a player; counted in the game statistics in the category "errors including frees against".


One who claps; a person who applauds by clapping the hands.


An early hi-hat consisting of cymbals mounted on the rim of a bass drum and struck with an arm on the drum's pedal.


An object so suspended inside a bell that it may hit the bell and cause it to ring; a clanger or tongue.


A cicada, Psaltoda claripennis, of New South Wales and Queensland, having an upper body of green and brown and clear wings with green veins.


A wooden mechanical device used as a scarecrow; bird-scaring rattle, a wind-rattle or a wind-clapper.


Short for Bedfordshire clanger.


A clapstick musical instrument.


A conspicuous mistake whose effects seem to reverberate; as, he dropped a clanger.


(sewing) A pounding block.


A conspicuous mistake whose effects seem to reverberate;
He dropped a clanger


The chattering damsel of a mill.


(cinematography) The hinged part of a clapperboard, used to synchronise images and soundtrack, or the clapperboard itself.


A person's tongue, as a source of chatter or nagging.


(obsolete) A rabbit burrow.


(transitive) To ring a bell by pulling a rope attached to the clapper.


To make a repetitive clapping sound; to clatter.


Of birds, to repeatedly strike the mandibles together.


A person who claps.


That which strikes or claps, as the tongue of a bell, or the piece of wood that strikes a mill hopper, etc. See Illust. of Bell.


A rabbit burrow.


Someone who applauds


A mobile mass of muscular tissue covered with mucous membrane and located in the oral cavity


Metal striker that hangs inside a bell and makes a sound by hitting the side

Common Curiosities

What is a clapper?

A clapper is the metal piece inside a bell that strikes to produce ringing sounds.

Can clapper refer to people?

Yes, it can also refer to individuals who clap in applause.

How does a clapper work in a bell?

It swings to strike the bell's interior, creating the bell's characteristic sound.

What is the primary function of a clapper?

Its main function is to create sound in bells by striking the bell's surface.

Can a clanger be deliberate?

Rarely; it's generally an unintentional mistake.

What is a clanger?

A clanger is a noticeable mistake or blunder, often causing embarrassment.

Where does the term clanger originate?

It's primarily British, often meaning a social or verbal slip.

Do all bells require a clapper to function?

Most bells do, though some may use external strikers instead.

Is clanger used in formal contexts?

No, it's typically used in informal settings.

How do people avoid dropping a clanger?

Careful communication and awareness of the audience help avoid clangers.

Is a clapper always made of metal?

Most often, but some clappers are made of other materials, like wood.

Can clanger refer to something other than a mistake?

It's primarily used to denote errors or slips.

Are there alternative terms for a clapper?

Sometimes, "striker" or "tongue" can be used, though "clapper" is most common.

Is clanger used mainly in British English?

Yes, it's more common in British English than American English.

Do clappers wear out over time?

Yes, frequent use can cause clappers to deteriorate, needing replacement.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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