Skip to main content

Applaud vs Cheer vs Root

Applaud, cheer and root mean to demonstrate one’s feeling, especially one’s approbation or joy, audibly and enthusiastically.

Applaud specifically and usually implies hand clapping.

  • it is not the custom to applaud preachers
  • the audiences at grand opera are asked to applaud only at the end of an act or scene
  • each graduate was applauded as he came up to receive his diploma

Cheer suggests shouting, usually of meaningless words (as rah-rah-rah or hip-hip-hooray) or of a set form of words adopted by a school, college, or organization as its own; in one use it implies organized rather than spontaneous effort and includes singing as well as shouting.

Cheer differs from applaud also in its purpose, which is chiefly that of encouraging individuals or a team taking part in a competition or contest; often, however, it suggests jubilation aroused by a successful play or a brilliant feat.

Root may imply cheering or applauding, but it stresses encouragement as the motive. Consequently it implies strong partisanship and vocal public championship of what one favors.

  • root for a candidate
  • root for the home team