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To go like the clappers is a British (I think, although common in Australia) idiom meaning to move with haste, like greased lightning, to run like hell, fast as a leopard, or to work really hard, as in "I'm going to have to go like the clappers to finish this wu before the boss sees me"!

The actual origin of the phrase isn't quite certain as there are a number of meanings for the word clapper, all of which would have moved quickly.

  • The tongue or piece of metal which hangs inside a bell and strikes it
  • A person who claps
  • A bird-scaring device
  • A rattle in a begging bowl used by the beggar to draw attention to hirself
  • A mechanism for shaking the sides of a grain hopper to ensure that the grain flows freely

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