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To Clap Back or Not to Clap Back?

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


When people post something on social media and readers don't like it, they might make negative comments. They do it to put the writer down, to make fun of him, or simply to start an argument. The original writer could "clap back" to the negative comment.

Clap Back: Definition

Clapping back is a trend that's popular on social media. It is the response from a person who has been attacked online. When a comment rubs a person the wrong way, he claps back with his own comment to put that person in check. In other words, the original writer is treating the instigator the same way he has been treated.

"Clapping back" is a slang phrase for retaliation. A clapback is a quick and sharp response to a negative comment. It is the way people respond when they have been criticized, attacked, or offended. It is a clever insult in response to something said or done to counteract the negative comment.

Clapping back is a comeback to put someone in his place. The desired result is to shut down the conversation. However, that is not always the case. Usually, it adds fuel to the fire.

When someone says something nasty to you, whether online or in person, your gut reaction is to clap back right away, but should you? Can you silent haters with a clapback or do you make the situation worse by clapping back?


Clap Back: Origin of the Expression

As far as words are concerned, "clap back" dates back to 2003. The expression is in the song Clap Back by Ja Rule. The rapper says he and his crew will clap back at other rappers who disrespect them.

When you clap back, it is a verb consisting of two words. The thing you do is a clapback. It is a noun consisting of one compound word.


Sally wrote something bad about me online. I will clap back. (verb; two words).

My clapback did more harm than good. (noun; one word).

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Reasons People Clap Back

  • When someone dishes out sarcasm at them.
  • When someone insults them.
  • When someone mocks them.
  • When someone says something mean to them.
  • When someone tries to get one up on them.
  • When someone tries to put them down, especially in public.

Having the Urge to Clap Back

When people criticize you, whether online or in person, you might want to clap back by being just as cruel to them as they are to you. You might want to retaliate for being judged unfairly, attacked, and being misrepresented. In other words, you want to clap back to defend yourself.

It is time-consuming to clap back. It is also a waste of energy. You might have the urge to retaliate against those who attack you, but you will never get your desired results that way.

So, Should You Clap Back?

‘Clapping back’ is a way to respond to disrespect. It is a reaction to get back at someone for what they said or did. Silence is golden in this instance. It is better to not fight fire with fire. Just let the fire die out.

  • Some people think it is wise not to clap back. They just let it be.
  • Don’t be quick to clap back.
  • Clapping back will put you in the same category with the person who made the negative comment. Let that person be stupid without joining him in his stupidity.

When Not Clapping Back Is Actually Clapping Back

Sometimes people say or do something to you just to get your reaction. They want to see what you will do. Therefore, not clapping back disappoints them.

Since a clap back is a quick and sharp response to criticism, not clapping back in a reasonable time is actually a clap back within itself. Sometimes when someone says something nasty to you online, they want you to clap back quickly so they can keep something going. Disappoint them by not clapping back even though you might want to do so.


It is your choice to clap back or not to clap back. There are more reasons not to clap back than there are reasons to clap back.

The wisest thing to do is to nip the clap backing in the bud by not responding to people online who you don't know and who don't know you. Don't clap back by validating something that should be ignored.

Instead of clapping back, delete the comment. Then move on to something else. Go for a walk, watch a positive movie, read a Bible story, or take a nap. Do what you have to do to take your mind off of the nasty comment.

If you engage in one or more of the above-suggested activities, you will surely discover that clapping back is not on your list of things to do. Besides, you no longer have the urge to clap back.

To tell the truth, many times in my flesh I have wanted to clap back, but the Holy Spirit in me prevented me from doing so. I have learned to follow my own advice with the prompting of the Holy Spirit to choose not to clap back over things that won't matter tomorrow.

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