round of applause: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘round of applause’ mean?

The idiom round of applause means to show appreciation or approval by clapping hands.

Idiom Explorer


One of the most well-known idioms in the English language is the phrase "round of applause." This idiom is often used to express appreciation or approval for someone's good job or to give them a pat on the back. It is commonly heard in various social and professional settings, such as theaters, classrooms, and award ceremonies.

The origin of the idiom can be traced back to ancient Rome when applauding was done by clapping one's hands together. The word "round" in this context refers to the action of people clapping their hands in a circular motion. Over time, the phrase "round of applause" became a figurative expression used to signify a collective show of approval or admiration for a good job or to give someone a pat on the back.

The idiom has become deeply ingrained in the English language and is widely used today. It is often employed to acknowledge a job well done, to praise someone's achievements, or to show appreciation for a performance. For example, at the end of a play, the audience might give the actors a round of applause to show their enjoyment and approval of the performance.

The crowd erupted in thunderous applause and ovation.

Furthermore, the idiom can also be used sarcastically or ironically to express mock admiration or to highlight insincerity. In these cases, the phrase is used to convey a sense of disbelief or disappointment in someone's actions or words. For example, if someone makes a ridiculous statement, others might respond with a sarcastic "Well done, let's give them a round of applause."

The idiom "round of applause" has become so ingrained in our language that it is often used without much thought or consideration. However, when examined closely, it reveals the underlying cultural and social dynamics of our society. It reflects our innate desire for recognition and approval, as well as our ability to express appreciation for the talents and achievements of others.

While the idiom has a clear and widely understood meaning, it also leaves room for interpretation and personal reflection. The act of giving someone a round of applause allows us to connect with our emotions, to express our support and admiration, and to feel a sense of unity with those around us.

Whether used sincerely or sarcastically, the idiom "round of applause" signifies our appreciation and approval for a job well done or to give someone a pat on the back. Its origin can be traced back to ancient Rome, where applauding involved clapping hands together. The phrase has evolved over time to become a figurative expression representing a collective show of approval.

Regardless of how it is used, the idiom "round of applause" reflects our innate desire for recognition and our ability to express admiration for the talents and achievements of others. It allows us to connect with our emotions and feel a sense of unity with those around us. In a way, it serves as a reminder of the power of recognition and appreciation in our lives.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "round of applause" can be used in a sentence:

  • After the student's presentation, the audience gave them a hearty round of applause.
  • The actor received a standing ovation and a long round of applause for his outstanding performance.
  • As the speaker concluded her speech, the room erupted in a thunderous round of applause.

More "Expression" idioms