Main definitions of rap in English

: rap1rap2

rap1

verb

  • 1[with object] Strike (a hard surface) with a series of rapid audible blows, especially in order to attract attention:

    ‘he stood up and rapped the table’
    [no object] ‘she rapped on the window’
    • ‘The dark-haired boy rapped on the strange panel with his knuckles.’
    • ‘The teacher rapped on the chalkboard with a yardstick, making some of the kids fall out of their desk comically.’
    • ‘She curled her fingers into a fist and rapped on the window.’
    • ‘There was a light at the back of the building and she rapped on the glass hoping someone would hear.’
    • ‘Early the next morning, Angela rapped on Kieran's door.’
    • ‘The door was locked, but he rapped on it softly for several minutes and finally it swung open.’
    • ‘When the man didn't seem to notice, Joey rapped on the counter hard.’
    • ‘Pat anxiously rapped on each of the windows, concerned that occupants of the home might have been trapped inside.’
    • ‘Sara rapped on my desk loudly and interrupted our conversation.’
    • ‘I screamed as someone rapped on my window with their knuckles.’
    • ‘Fox rapped on the table to call the meeting to order.’
    • ‘Daimon rapped on the cold glass and fogged it with her breath.’
    • ‘After this was done he moved to the coffin and rapped on the lid three times.’
    • ‘Janet followed Bill to the basement window, where Bill jumped lightly into the window well and rapped on the window.’
    • ‘She quickly stepped over him and rapped on Jack and Michael's door.’
    • ‘She had reached the door to her mother's room, and gently rapped on it until she called out.’
    • ‘He rapped on my window, completely startling me.’
    • ‘I walked downstairs in a towel and rapped on the front desk.’
    • ‘At that moment Peach looked their way and rapped on the table with a jeweled rod.’
    • ‘The teacher rapped on his desk twice and stood up.’
    hit, strike, bang, thump, knock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Strike (something) several times against a hard surface:
      ‘she rapped her stick on the floor’
      • ‘She rapped her knuckles on the glass divide.’
      • ‘He bellowed, rapping his knuckles hard against the door.’
      • ‘I ran my hand along the wall; then, I rapped my knuckles against it.’
      • ‘I rapped a knuckle against the Kevlar on my chest.’
      • ‘Mia knocked loudly on the door, rapping her knuckles hard against the steel wall that separated her from her boyfriend.’
      • ‘I pulled my hat back on my head before rapping my knuckles against the heavy wooden door for the third time that day.’
      • ‘She let out an annoyed growl and rapped her knuckle against the window.’
      • ‘‘Sorry,’ he repeats, unable to look at her as he raps a knuckle on the reinforced glass window.’
      • ‘He rapped his walking stick hard on the dirty cobblestone path, three times in quick succession.’
      • ‘Walker rapped his knuckles against his head, perplexed.’
      • ‘I rapped my knuckles on the splintering wood twice, paused, and knocked again once.’
      • ‘Walking out, I rapped my knuckles hard on Mya's door.’
      • ‘She rapped the ruler even harder on my desk and returned to the blackboard and continued talking about parabolas.’
      • ‘She didn't look up until he had ascended the porch steps and rapped his knuckles on the railing.’
      knock, tap
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Strike sharply with a stick or similar implement:
      ‘she rapped my fingers with a ruler’
      • ‘The combination of the cold and the force of the blow was incredibly painful, but I gritted my teeth and whirled around, rapping him sharply on the knees.’
      • ‘Franki took a spoon and rapped Bridget over the head with it sharply.’
      • ‘My father cussed, brandishing a fallen stick and rapping him across his haunches.’
    3. 1.3informal Criticize severely:
      ‘certain banks are to be rapped for delaying interest rate cuts’
      • ‘At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, he was rapped by Bazay for criticizing the selection of freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard as Canada's flag-bearer.’
      reprimand, reproach, scold, admonish, reprove, remonstrate with, chastise, chide, upbraid, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, criticize, censure
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Say sharply or suddenly:
      ‘the ambassador rapped out an order’
  • 2North American informal [no object] Talk or chat in an easy and familiar manner:

    ‘we could be here all night rapping about spiritualism’
    • ‘Jean Grae responds, and then she raps about baseball, sounding like a natural.’
    • ‘Just call her up to rap about it.’
  • 3[no object] Perform rap music:

    ‘he raps under the name of Mr T’
    • ‘I don't rap too well but I've always liked making mix tapes.’
    • ‘I am totally different from everyone else in the game because not only do I rap, I also produce, play musical instruments and sing which makes me literally, a one-man band.’
    • ‘Here, instead of trying to match their vocals to pop music, players must rap along to a large group of hip-hop favorites.’
    • ‘If children hear people singing and rapping about drugs, sex, money, and killing in a glamorous way, then it may lead them to believe that this negative life is one they should live.’
    • ‘The event was a fantastic success with students dancing, rapping and performing poetry against racism.’
    • ‘Ice T rapped, then rocked with his metal band Body Count.’
    • ‘One can't help but grin when he raps.’
    • ‘It was a white dude rapping and playing an acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘I happened to catch 19 seconds of Will Smith rapping at the NBA finals game.’
    • ‘While it mainly relies on the music, when Tefrey does decide to rap, he demands your attention.’
    • ‘Let's listen in and see what they're rapping to right now.’
    • ‘Many of the more affluent youth, who had access to learning English, rapped in that language, mixing American vernacular and phrasing into their music.’
    • ‘She proved she could rap with the best of them, but her singing voice leaves quite a bit to be desired.’
    • ‘Juvenile is one of those American hip hop originals who, despite all kinds of chit chat and blatant attacks on his ability to rap at all, managed to play a major role in spearheading the hip hop opening of the South.’
    • ‘When you're rapping, you can't be rapping for yourself.’
    • ‘Simmons and McDaniels started out rapping at parties, and later invited Mizell to form a group with them.’
    • ‘Most gang members are actually very personable, and I've never had any trouble rapping with them.’
    • ‘The problem is too many people waste that power rapping about all the wrong things.’
    • ‘That's when I got hooked on hip hop and started to rap.’
    • ‘Speaking from experience they rap about how hopelessness can lead to alcoholism and how the violence of the system tears people's lives apart.’

noun

  • 1A quick, sharp knock or blow:

    ‘there was a confident rap at the door’
    • ‘A quick rap at the door made Katie realize that she had been in a daze.’
    • ‘Smart's parents deserve a dozen sharp raps on the head, as well.’
    • ‘I was getting into bed when I heard a quick rap on the door.’
    • ‘A sharp rap at the door made the quartet's heads turn simultaneously toward the door.’
    • ‘After a brisk rap on the door, the four officers went inside the terraced house in Shirley.’
    • ‘A sharp rap on his door told Dmitri that Helena had arrived.’
    • ‘A timid knock sounded, followed by a couple of bold raps on the door.’
    • ‘A sharp rap on Ryan's window eventually broke us apart.’
    • ‘A sharp rap at the door of the dressing room broke the two out of their romantic interlude.’
    • ‘She waited patiently until she heard the rap of the door and raced downstairs to open up the door.’
    • ‘Some minutes later, as they were finishing their meal, there was a sharp rap on the front door.’
    • ‘If caught using her left hand, it got a rap on the knuckles with a rule.’
    • ‘Three sharp raps at the door interrupted his speech and Ben looked helplessly to Marie.’
    • ‘That earns him a sharp rap on the shoulder, but he says he doesn't mind because my punches don't hurt.’
    • ‘A sharp rap sounded on the door and Clara reached out to open it.’
    • ‘He was deep in thought, and jumped when a sharp rap on the metal of the steel trailer rang in his ears.’
    • ‘Because a moment later, I hear a sharp rap on the door.’
    • ‘Lifting her hand to the knot infested wood, she gave the door a quick rap with her knuckles’
    • ‘Not before long he heard a sharp rap on the door, and a stern voice telling him no doors were to be locked in that family.’
    • ‘Before he could answer Roland's question, a sharp rap on the door interrupted him.’
    knock, knocking, tap, bang, banging, hammering, battering, pounding, rat-tat
    blow, hit, knock, bang, crack, thump
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal A sharp criticism:
      ‘social services were smarting from an Ombudsman's rap’
      • ‘Removing him for this game serves the dual purpose of delivering a sharp rap to him as he searches about for his best form and adding some extra strength to Kerry's attack in Liam Hassett.’
  • 2[mass noun] A type of popular music of US black origin in which words are recited rapidly and rhythmically over an instrumental backing:

    ‘the label specializes in rap and modern soul’
    [as modifier] ‘rap artists’
    • ‘‘Hip hop’ refers to a culture that existed before rap music was ever heard on the radio.’
    • ‘You were one of the first prominent female solo artists in rap music.’
    • ‘Johnson must have sung about his life, just as today's rap artists doubtless sing about their own experiences.’
    • ‘Once in a while, an artist comes along that completely revolutionizes rap music.’
    • ‘There is a wide range of rock, hip hop, rap and techno music.’
    • ‘When I would hear my students reciting rap lyrics, I used to ask them what the words actually meant.’
    • ‘But with the rise to prominence of rap and R&B, black artists with clout have started to emerge and are more powerful than ever before.’
    • ‘Reggae, pop, and rap are popular with the youth.’
    • ‘She was listening rock music and rap from a small black radio that was next to her.’
    • ‘Indeed, the number of Spanish rap artists and CDs has continued to increase ever since.’
    • ‘Both fans of techno and fans of rap music should enjoy this album.’
    • ‘In his spare time, he watches TV and listens to rap, hip-hop, R & B and reggae.’
    • ‘So, what could listening to rap and other music have to do with improving those scores?’
    • ‘In these artists, many fans find some continuity with the fun-loving and community-oriented origins of rap.’
    • ‘In 2001, hip-hop and rap overtook country music as the second most popular form of music bought in the United States.’
    • ‘The Hard Knock Life tour made it so rap artists could go out again and do arena tours.’
    • ‘Everlast is one of the few artists who can take on a style of music like rap and bring something fresh to it while still keeping it all real.’
    • ‘Since then, youth involvement with rap has rapidly increased throughout the country.’
    • ‘The book is well written, carefully researched, and nicely organized, and its study of the early origins of rap is fascinating.’
    • ‘The number of rap productions grew constantly and rapidly in the 1990s throughout Europe.’
    1. 2.1[count noun] A piece of rap, or the words themselves:
      ‘the track's a surprisingly lyrical rap’
      • ‘I am fascinated by his raps and the way he started rapping.’
      • ‘We certainly can't peg Sole as a hip-hop artist based on raps alone.’
      • ‘Their raps may be blazing, but the melodies deliberately evoke early Beach Boys memories.’
      • ‘‘Summer Girl’ could be one of the best singles of the year and on ‘Que Onda Guero’ he puts together his best-ever raps.’
      • ‘All their songs were full of slang phrases and raps.’
      • ‘Big Boi's raps are, as always, inventive, the words tumbling out with speed and bite.’
      • ‘So, instead of offering thoughtful lyrics that address contemporary concerns both political and social, or easing the audience into a new sound with trademark humor, he keeps the beats simple and the raps simpler.’
      • ‘His more unusual gambit, however, is dicing the sampled raps of various MCs into terse snippets.’
      • ‘The result fuses generic hip-hop beats and raps with some genuinely surprising performers - criss-crossing some radio-friendly funk with something a little more introspective.’
      • ‘Roll Deep recently managed it by setting some hard urban beats and raps against some well-chosen samples and melodies.’
      • ‘Murs has been cultivating the art of storytelling in his raps for some time now.’
      • ‘The duo take a distinctly independent approach to hip-hop, creating cinematic but melancholy beats around some telling raps from Reindeer.’
      • ‘His cinematic influence is to the fore again with a number of tracks, usually using Peveron's rambling raps, as vehicles to keep the album moving.’
      • ‘As usual with Canibus' battle raps, the lyrics are near flawless.’
      • ‘Mainly produced by, and featuring, Eminem, it gives you what you'd expect - strong beats, ironic raps and bizarre alter egos.’
      • ‘His voice has a limited range, but is used well, serving the slow burn of these songs far more effectively than a straightforward rap.’
      • ‘One would assume that Mills, coming from the progressive, underground garage movement, would buttress his raps with arresting beats.’
      • ‘Luckily, K-OS has the rhymes to back up his rants, wielding a lyrical intelligence that shines both on his ardent raps and in his surprisingly smooth singing.’
      • ‘Vordul's verse is uninspiring and sounds much more like spoken word poetry, rather than a proper rap.’
      • ‘All of these women's raps illustrate that they can do what they are doing.’
  • 3North American informal A lengthy or impromptu conversation:

    ‘dropping in after work for a rap over a beer’
    • ‘He's pretty quiet at the hall meetings and the rap group sessions.’
    • ‘So whenever Hilary has any of her cronies over, I have to suffer through a rap session blaring from her room.’
    • ‘In a calm, cool, and extremely friendly way, hold a rap session with your dancers and their parents.’
  • 4North American informal [usually with adjective or noun modifier] A criminal charge, especially of a specified kind:

    ‘he's just been acquitted on a murder rap’
    • ‘You go into a bar and end up in a fight, one of the two will complain and the other will get an assault rap.’
    • ‘What about the career criminal scheduled for lethal injection because a fellow inmate pinned a murder rap on him in exchange for time off?’
    • ‘Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for him.’
  • 5North American informal A person's reputation, typically a bad one:

    ‘why should drag queens get a bad rap?’
    • ‘Synthetic hormones are the ones getting the bad rap.’
    • ‘We'll ask Raymone if she thinks that Michael's getting a bad rap.’
    • ‘The record is a stunner, offering a glimpse at a once-famous composer who has unfairly suffered a bad rap.’
    • ‘Classical literature is rich in lessons of character, but often gets a bad rap because of its archaic language and unfamiliar settings.’
    • ‘I think that we got a bad rap coming out of the Olympics.’
    • ‘With about a third of the private banking deposits in the whole world resting in the coffers of its banks, and a reputation for financial discretion second to none, the bad rap is inescapable.’
    • ‘And I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep thinking they got a bad rap for this woman's execution.’
    • ‘‘He got a bad rap because there were so many problems with his later prints,’ she said.’
    • ‘Oppression, foreign occupation, and military dictatorships get a bad rap.’
    • ‘Mr. President, do you think your wife got a bad rap?’
    • ‘Yet, as it turns out, many of those foods have bad raps based on outdated and, sometimes, erroneous information.’
    • ‘Search engine marketing gets a bad rap for a ton of reasons.’
    • ‘Tracy from Michigan thinks Tom is getting a bad rap.’
    • ‘I think they get a bad rap in history because they were the losers.’
    • ‘Let's go through the U.S. numbers, because the United States gets somewhat of a bad rap on this and yet, the numbers are considerable.’
    • ‘Do you think recycling has gotten a bad rap from the media?’
    • ‘It's a difficult thing to talk about in a way, because human intervention and control over the world have quite a bad rap at the moment.’
    • ‘Dietary fat has long gotten a bad rap from society.’
    • ‘If communication breaks down, the project gets a bad rap, says Barker.’
    • ‘Fish farmers counter that they're getting a bad rap.’

Phrases

  • beat the rap

    • informal Escape punishment for or be acquitted of a crime:

      ‘on appeal, he beat this rap by a tricky legal technicality’
      • ‘Even before the crimes were committed, the White House was planning how to beat the rap.’
      • ‘It'll be a miracle if he doesn't face eviction this week, but there's a very strong chance that he'll beat the rap.’
      • ‘Even when doping athletes are caught, they often beat the rap.’
      • ‘Pearson's book reveals the unseemly tactics that accused women use to beat the rap.’
      • ‘And one of this disgusting crew beat the rap when he was charged and tried a few years back, a time when their expressions of remorse might have actually meant something.’
      • ‘He'd always have a very good lawyer, who would help him beat the rap.’
      • ‘It also meant that Gorshkov had little hope of beating the rap.’
      • ‘She beat the rap in August, acquitted of all charges by a federal jury in Memphis.’
      • ‘The trio was under the impression that they were untouchable and would beat the rap and began to transfer their assets to relatives' modern-day off-shore accounts.’
      • ‘This will no doubt be a case of another celebrity beating the rap.’
  • a rap on (or over) the knuckles

    • A reprimand.

      • ‘A rap over the knuckles that the government can choose to dismiss if it wants.’
      • ‘Cops always complain about how the courts let the bad guys they work so hard to catch just walk away with a rap on the knuckles.’
      • ‘Switzerland's not being invited looks like a rap on the knuckles.’
      • ‘Countries who want to skimp on paying for the European Union got a rap on the knuckles from Parliament president Pat Cox.’
      • ‘It might be hate speech, and then she will get a rap over the knuckles and be fined.’
      • ‘The most probable scenario is a rap over the knuckles, and there is no suggestion of points being deducted or a replay ordered.’
      • ‘If this was an isolated incident, a rap on the knuckles might be deemed sufficient.’
      • ‘The punishments, said to have been carried out after two internal investigations, amount to little more than a rap over the knuckles for the CIA and those singled out.’
      • ‘It won't be the central government because power equations make a rap on the knuckles impossible.’
      • ‘The PNG government, however, rapidly received a rap over the knuckles from Washington.’
      rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reproof, admonishment, admonition, reproval, remonstration, lecture, upbraiding, castigation, lambasting, criticism, censure
      View synonyms
  • rap someone on (or over) the knuckles

    • Reprimand or criticize someone:

      ‘the government was rapped over the knuckles for its failure to reform the House of Lords’
      • ‘Meanwhile City were rapped over the knuckles by the FA yesterday at a hearing into the melee during the Preston game on September 13.’
      • ‘But the regulator also rapped her over the knuckles about inefficiencies at Dublin and Shannon airports.’
      • ‘One observer said: ‘If they did rap Fisher over the knuckles then no one got to know about it.’’
      • ‘Probably someone was rapped over the knuckles for not observing the difference between the two concepts.’
      • ‘Standard Life has been rapped over the knuckles by the Financial Ombudsman for turning down claims by policyholders who got their weight wrong on application forms.’
      • ‘Mayo County Council has been rapped on the knuckles by An Bord Pleanála for failing to provide adequate services to areas which have the potential to be properly developed.’
      • ‘When should the profession rap them over the knuckles, and when should they permanently show them the door?’
      • ‘He is incensed about the November 2 announcement of a proposed antitrust settlement that he thinks barely raps them on the knuckles.’
      • ‘Health chiefs have been rapped on the knuckles after deciding to axe services at a Bishopstoke hospital a year earlier than planned.’
      • ‘Separately, Byrne was rapped on the knuckles by the Dublin District Court for holding illegal teenage discos in the West Stand.’
      criticize, censure, condemn, castigate, chastise, lambaste, pillory, savage, find fault with, fulminate against, abuse
      rebuke, reprimand, reproach, reproof, admonishment, admonition, reproval, remonstration, lecture, upbraiding, castigation, lambasting, criticism, censure
      View synonyms
  • take the rap

    • informal Be punished or blamed, especially for something that is not one's fault:

      ‘it didn't worry him if someone else took the rap for his misdemeanours’
      • ‘Most of them are happy to use the bureaucratic machinery to escape from taking the rap.’
      • ‘And the agency willingly risks taking the rap in exchange for access to all that client money.’
      • ‘He complained once again that he took the rap for others.’
      • ‘History shows that it is nearly always the smaller party in a coalition that takes the rap in that situation.’
      • ‘They were more concerned with working out the reasons why it hadn't been their fault and why someone else should take the rap.’
      • ‘Vernon ends up taking the rap for the killings and is sentenced to death.’
      • ‘I would say that he is taking the rap for it anyway, short of being the scapegoat.’
      • ‘President Kennedy was told the Bay of Pigs would go smoothly and then he took the rap.’
      • ‘Pay them to take the rap and then say it was all their fault.’
      • ‘We take the rap for whatever suffering takes place under sanctions, period.’
      be punished, be blamed, take the blame, pay, suffer, suffer the consequences, pay the price
      answer for something
      be for it
      carry the can
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (originally in the senses ‘severe blow with a weapon’ and ‘deliver a heavy blow’): probably imitative and of Scandinavian origin; compare with Swedish rappa beat, drub, also with clap and flap.

Pronunciation:

rap

/rap/

Main definitions of rap in English

: rap1rap2

rap2

noun

  • [in singular, with negative] The smallest amount (used for emphasis):

    ‘he doesn't care a rap whether it's true or not’
    whit, iota, jot, hoot, scrap, bit, fig
    one bit, even a little bit, two hoots, the smallest amount, the tiniest bit
    damn, tinker's curse, tinker's cuss, brass farthing, monkey's
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: from Irish ropaire robber; used as the name of a counterfeit coin in 18th-century Ireland.

Pronunciation:

rap

/rap/