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My dictionary translates both 喝采{かっさい} and 拍手{はくしゅ} as "applause". Are they interchangeable or do they have different nuances?

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There are a couple of differences between the two.

「拍手」 means "clapping hands" and really nothing else.

「喝采」 means "cheering" mainly but clapping can occasionally be naturally included in the action of cheering.

That is why we often combine the two words to say 「拍手喝采」 ("big applause") to describe a crowd going crazy.

Another thing I feel like I should mention is that while 「拍手」 sounds fairly plain and matter-of-fact, 「喝采」 sounds more dramatic.

There is a very famous song entitled 「喝采」 and it simply never could have been entitled 「拍手」.

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  • Thank you for all the additional details!
    – ersbygre1
    Dec 22 '19 at 0:26

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