The tongue of a bell — the part inside that swings to make the bell ring — is called the clapper. The Liberty Bell cracked the first time the clapper struck the sides of the bell. The bell was recast twice, but eventually the clapper cracked that bell as well.

The noun clapper is based on clap, from the Old English word clappan, which means to clap, throb, or beat. The word is supposed to be imitative of the sound the thing makes. When the clapper strikes the inside of a bell, it makes the bell ring. If you need the bell to be silent, you have to muffle the clapper to keep it from striking the inside of the bell and making a sound.

Definitions of clapper
  1. noun
    metal striker that hangs inside a bell and makes a sound by hitting the side
    synonyms: tongue
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    type of:
    the part of a mechanical device that strikes something
  2. noun
    someone who applauds
    synonyms: applauder
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    type of:
    extoller, laudator, lauder
    someone who communicates high praise
  3. noun
    a mobile mass of muscular tissue covered with mucous membrane and located in the oral cavity
    synonyms: glossa, lingua, tongue
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    type of:
    a fully differentiated structural and functional unit in an animal that is specialized for some particular function
    a movable speech organ
Word Family

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