Definition of clapboard in English:



North American
  • 1A long, thin, flat piece of wood with edges horizontally overlapping in series, used to cover the outer walls of buildings.

    [as modifier] ‘neat clapboard houses’
    • ‘There are no green-covered trees to shelter us from the icy north blasts, just the weathered clapboard of this rickety house.’
    • ‘The classical material of American building is wood and the characteristic structure is clapboard, frame surfaces of overlapping strips.’
    • ‘Eventually, we're directed to a clapboard hut on the edge of town where a pair of women in bright turbans stir two large cauldrons with paddles.’
    • ‘Tombstone, an easy day trip from Tucson, does however offer one vision of Arizona's pioneer days: clapboard and adobe buildings, and, of course, re-enacted gunfights.’
    • ‘The old districts with their brick sidewalks are full of lovely clapboard houses built by sea captains.’
    • ‘The 41-year-old film maker had his own confusing memories of his father's infrequent visits, mostly nocturnal, to his mother's clapboard flat in Philadelphia.’
    • ‘Could he really have been on his way to join Nathaniel's mother in her clapboard house outside Philadelphia?’
    • ‘White-painted cedar clapboards cover its gabled forms, which are topped by classic standing-seam metal roofs.’
    • ‘I step over the yard toys and around the cross-country skis to reach the front door of the clapboard house on the shore of Lake Champlain.’
    • ‘We passed one simple building after another, made of teak or covered with clapboards painted in pastel blue, yellow, peach or mint green.’
    • ‘This courthouse consisted of a two-story woodframe building covered with clapboards, resting on a foundation of stone blocks.’
    • ‘On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party formally came into being in this white clapboard building.’
    • ‘The clapboard house had caved in and surrendered to saplings and vines.’
    • ‘A lot of the clapboard on the north end of the house should be replaced.’
    • ‘In the clapboard houses radiating out from the youth center in San Jose, multiple families wedge themselves into cramped rooms and small garages.’
    • ‘Huddled clapboard houses substitute for the raw-plank architecture of the frontier town; an industrial bridge provides background sublimity in the absence of mountains.’
    • ‘Within ten minutes the stagecoach rocked back into motion and sent a cloud of dust and dirt and grit billowing skywards across the yard towards the gray clapboard building.’
    • ‘A retired farmwife emerged from her white clapboard house with a hearty midwestern hello.’
    • ‘As a result, the cottages echo the hotel's classical Georgian architecture, but vernacular details such as clapboard siding and wood porches are also evident.’
    • ‘James pointed to a white clapboard building around the corner.’
    1. 1.1informal A house with outer walls covered in clapboards.
      • ‘She reminded me of one of those beauties who sometimes emerge from hard country clapboards or trash-strewn double-wides.’


Early 16th century (denoting a piece of oak used for barrel staves or wainscot): partial translation of Low German klappholt barrel stave from klappen to crack + holt wood.