1. to hit someone or something quickly with the palm of the hand or a flat object, making a loud noise
a. to hit a surface with a sound like someone slapping something
2. to put something down quickly and noisily
a. to put something on a surface quickly and without much attention
Origin of the word
The exact origin of the word slap is not definite, but it likely comes from the Low German word ‘slappe’, which also means slap, and the German ‘Schlappe’, meaning defeat.
Used as a verb, slap can refer to a number of different actions. In terms of striking a person, it can suggest a light blow to the face or hand, usually as a form of rebuke. When used to speak of a slap on the back the meaning is quite different, indicating a gesture of friendship or praise. If a flat object is struck by the palm of the hand, this is an example of a slap. The noise this action creates is also known as a slap. A person who chooses to slap down an object may be in a hurry or irritated; they are putting the object in place quickly or carelessly.
In English, a slap in the face rarely refers to a physical action. Rather, it can be understood as a situation where someone feels insulted or offended. For example, after a job interview in which a person performed well, not being hired could be deemed a slap in the face, as they expected a more positive result.
“A slap on the wrist is the most one could say about what can barely be called a sentence for what could have been treated as serious crimes including espionage.”
“Some people will slap you on the back behind your face and then slap you in the face behind your back.”
strike, blow, whack
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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