What is the origin of applause?
What is the origin of applause? (Thinkstock)
What is the origin of applause?
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You asked us, what is the origin of applause?

Well, it's impossible to know exactly when people first started clapping, though it's definitely an ancient and widespread behavior. It had certainly caught on by the time of the Roman Empire. That's when crowds would clap, snap and wave the edge of their togas to let rulers know exactly where things stood.

Some of those rulers weren't above hiring professionals either. There were people who literally clapped for their dinner to manipulate crowd reactions.

Speaking of trained monkeys, we're not the only species that put our hands together. Other great apes like gorillas, chimps and orangutans sometimes clap their hands to draw attention.

But applause -- clapping as a sign of approval or joy -- is actually a learned behavior. And for the most part, it seems to be limited to humans.

Bravo to us humans. For more stories like this, check us out every day at Smithsonian.com.


Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/what-origin-applause/

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COMMENTS (88)
  • cyrust-Sch
    3/23/2015 - 11:15 a.m.

    I learned something very new about clapping and how we learn to clap. It is so cool how we learn to clap on our own it is so amazing really how to learn to clap on our own.

  • emilianar-Hyl
    3/23/2015 - 11:59 a.m.

    This is how ancient roman people used to show where things stood. I am also a fan of monkeys and love them. I did not know that clapping was you had learned it. I love to learn things.

  • yonim425
    3/23/2015 - 12:18 p.m.

    I Think that clapping is a sign of respect to people because you applause people when you do a presentation or when you do a good job on a test and the teacher tells the other students to applause their classmate their is many ways of respect and applausing is one of them.

  • NickC35
    3/23/2015 - 12:47 p.m.

    Clapping is something we all do. Many people did it to show their leaders where things stood. Monkeys sometimes clap to get attention. Maybe we clap because its just the easiest thing to do to show we are paying attention or giving feed back. But why, the passage leads me to believe that is just that it is the easiest thing to do.

  • Ts2000
    3/23/2015 - 01:20 p.m.

    The applause sign tells the crowd to claps snap and wave .sometimes we start clapping for aprroval or joy is a learned behavior for humans.

  • PhoebeG-Kut
    3/23/2015 - 03:19 p.m.

    I had always wondered what was the origin of applause. I never really realized the Animals applause. Applause is a learned behavior. Clapping and applause are the same thing. It's a sign of approval or joy. The video was really cool make sure to watch it.

  • sebastianserrano1
    3/23/2015 - 03:32 p.m.

    Applaus is not a natural behavior and it must be learned. No one knows exactly when the round of applause became a common way for showing approval. It is a wide spread behavior and dates back to ancient times. During the Roman Empire audiences would clap snap or wave the edge of their togas to express their opinions on what they were watching. Also some Roman rulers would pay people to clap in an audience so they could change audiences opinions on show and change the mood of the show. Other primates also have adopted the habit of clapping. Gorillas, Orangutans and Chimps also do tis for attention. Mostly only humans clap however and it is strange learned habit that humans don't do without being told

  • ethanst-And
    3/23/2015 - 03:48 p.m.

    I learned that other apes such as gorillas, chimps and orangutans clap to attract attention. I also learned that clapping caught on during the Roman Empire times.

  • JonathanAA-4
    3/23/2015 - 03:54 p.m.

    This article is about the origin of clapping. Clapping first originated around the time of the Roman Empire. Clapping was first used to take a quick vote about something. Humans were the only species who clapped because of happiness or joy. Other monkeys and apes clapped their hands together to communicate with each other. I found this article interesting because I have always wondered how clapping first started.

  • SydneyD-Kut
    3/23/2015 - 04:14 p.m.

    I bet its really hard to find the origin of appuale because people have been clapping for so long. I didn't know monkeys clapped too. But since they are so much like us I can see why.

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