Partridge says: "Possibly rhyming slang for 'clappers of a bell', 'hell'."
- (simile, colloquial) Very hard or very rapidly.
- After hurling their insults, they ran like the clappers to get away.
- 1998, Diana Gittins, Madness in its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospital, 1913-1997,
- And when it started off they first studied them, and of course they went like the clappers to prove what they could do, which was the thing they shouldn't be doing because it was a study, and of course, they've got to work like the clappers all the time once it came into operation.
- 2001, The Bulletin, Volumes 6264-6271,
- We've gone through regional and rural Australia like the clappers, and everywhere we went, irate voters shouted at us and we stuck our heads out the windows and shouted: "What?" and the electorate respected us for it.
- 2006, Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark,
- In fact she made quite a nice little rider — a bit rough, like these Australians always were, but quite secure in her seat and going like the clappers.