from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To hit sharply and swiftly; strike: rapped the table with his fist.
  • transitive v. To utter sharply: rap out a complaint.
  • transitive v. To criticize or blame.
  • intransitive v. To strike a quick light blow: rapped on the door.
  • n. A quick light blow or knock.
  • n. A knocking or tapping sound.
  • n. Slang A reprimand.
  • n. Slang A sentence to serve time in prison.
  • n. Slang A negative quality or characteristic associated with a person or an object.
  • idiom beat the rap Slang To escape punishment or be acquitted of a charge.
  • idiom take the rap Slang To accept punishment or take the blame for an offense or error.
  • transitive v. Archaic To enchant or seize with rapture.
  • transitive v. Archaic To snatch.
  • n. Informal The least bit: I don't give a rap about office politics. I don't care a rap what you do.
  • n. Slang A talk, conversation, or discussion.
  • n. A form of popular music developed especially in African-American urban communities and characterized by spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment.
  • n. A composition or performance of such music.
  • intransitive v. Slang To discuss freely and at length.
  • intransitive v. To perform rap music.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sharp blow with something hard.
  • n. Blame (for something).
  • n. A casual talk
  • n. Rap music.
  • n. A song, verse, or instance of singing in the style of rap music.
  • n. Any of the tokens that passed current for a halfpenny in Ireland in the early part of the eighteenth century; thus, any coin of trifling value.
  • v. To strike something sharply with one's knuckles; knock.
  • v. To speak (lyrics) in the style of rap music.
  • v. To talk casually.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lay or skein containing 120 yards of yarn.
  • n. A quick, smart blow; a knock.
  • n. A popular name for any of the tokens that passed current for a half-penny in Ireland in the early part of the eighteenth century; any coin of trifling value.
  • n. conversation; also, rapping.
  • n. a type of rhythmic talking, often with accompanying rhythm instruments; rap music.
  • intransitive v. To strike with a quick, sharp blow; to knock.
  • transitive v. To strike with a quick blow; to knock on.
  • transitive v. To free (a pattern) in a mold by light blows on the pattern, so as to facilitate its removal.
  • transitive v. To snatch away; to seize and hurry off.
  • transitive v. To hasten.
  • transitive v. To seize and bear away, as the mind or thoughts; to transport out of one's self; to affect with ecstasy or rapture.
  • transitive v. To exchange; to truck.
  • transitive v. To engage in a discussion, converse.
  • transitive v. to perform a type of rhythmic talking, often with accompanying rhythm instruments. It is considered by some as a type of music; see rap music.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To beat upon; strike heavily or smartly; give a quick, sharp blow to, as with the fist, a door-knocker, a stick, or the like; knock upon.
  • To use in striking; make a blow or blows with.
  • To utter sharply: speak out: usually with out (see phrase below).
  • To produce or indicate by rapping sounds; impart by a series of significant raps: as, to rap out a communication or a signal: used specifically of the supposed transmission of spiritual intelligence in this way through the instrumentality of mediums.
  • Synonyms To thump, whack.
  • To deal a heavy blow or heavy blows; beat.
  • To fall with a stroke or blow; drop so as to strike.
  • To strike a quick, sharp blow; make a sound by knocking, as on a door: as, to rap for admittance.
  • To take an oath; swear; especially, to swear falsely: compare to rap out , above.
  • To snatch or hurry away; seize by violence; carry off; transport; ravish.
  • To transport out of one's self; affect with ecstasy or rapture; carry away; absorb; engross.
  • To scratch.
  • n. A heavy or quick, smart, blow; a sharp or resounding knock; concussion from striking.
  • n. A sound produced by knocking, as at a door, or by any sharp concussion; specifically, in modern spiritualism, a ticking or knocking noise produced by no apparent physical means, and ascribed to the agency of disembodied spirits.
  • n. A counterfeit coin of bad metal which passed current in Ireland for a halfpenny in the reign of George I., before the issue of Wood's halfpence.
  • n. A Middle English form of rope.
  • n. A Middle English preterit of reap.
  • n. A lay or skein of yarn containing 120 yards.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. perform rap music
  • n. genre of African-American music of the 1980s and 1990s in which rhyming lyrics are chanted to a musical accompaniment; several forms of rap have emerged
  • v. talk volubly
  • n. a gentle blow
  • n. the act of hitting vigorously
  • n. the sound made by a gentle blow
  • v. make light, repeated taps on a surface
  • n. voluble conversation
  • v. strike sharply
  • n. a reproach for some lapse or misdeed


Middle English rappen, possibly of imitative origin.
Back-formation from rapt.
From obsolete rap, 18th-century Irish counterfeit halfpenny, from Irish Gaelic, alteration (possibly influenced by rap, piece, bit) of ropaire, cutthroat; see rapparee.
Possibly from rap1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English rap, rappe, of North Germanic origin, related to Norwegian rapp ("a blow, strike, lash"), Swedish rapp ("a blow, lash, crack"), Danish rap ("a tap, smart, blow"). Compare Old English hreppan ("to touch, treat"). More at rape. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English rappen, of North Germanic origin, related to Swedish rappa ("to strike, beat, rap"), German rappeln ("to rattle"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "How many times did Jimi try it on with friends and find he had nothing but fans? How many times did he start to rap charming with his bush-baby eyes and his ready smile and that fast sharp patter only to find no comeback but fawning? How often did the rapping change to panhandling and then to sneering because his friends were nothing but an audience and they didn't know the difference between the panhandling and the straight rap? How often did the caress and the compliment change to insult and assault? His foxy ladies turned to slags and pigs in a second."
    - 'Hey, Jimi, Where You Gonna Run To Now?', Germaine Greer in Oz, 1970.

    March 31, 2008

  • Par in reverse.

    November 2, 2007