Rapped, Rapt, and Wrapped

Commonly Confused Words

rapped and wrapped
"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.". (CSA Images/Archive/Getty Images)

The words rappedrapt, and wrapped are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

Definitions

Rapped is the past tense of the verb rap. Rap means to knock, hit suddenly, or criticize sharply. The verb rap also means to talk freely and openly or to perform the highly rhythmic type of popular music known as rap (noun) or hip hop

The adjective rapt means receiving (someone's) full attention, being wholly absorbed (in something), or being carried away (with emotion).

Wrapped is the past tense of the verb wrap, which means to cover, enclose, or bundle. The phrasal verb wrapped up means to be involved or obsessed with someone or something. 

Examples

  • "After a few shots, Muholi removed the fruit basket from her head and sat down at the kitchen table to load the images into Photoshop. She rapped her knuckles on the table while she waited, fretting out loud that the concept wouldn't work."
    (Jenna Wortham, "Zanele Muholi's Transformation." The New York Times Magazine, October 8, 2015)
     
  • "Drake’s ascendance happened so instantly it felt effortless, achieved without struggle, almost to the point of seeming unearned. In 'Thank Me Now,' he rapped about how he 'can relate to kids going straight to the league'--a reference to high-school players so talented they skip college basketball and go straight to the NBA."
    (Simon Reynolds, "How Drake Became the All-Pervading Master of Hyper-Reality Rap." The Guardian [UK], April 28, 2016) 
     
  • The miners were rescued in front of the world's media and a billion rapt viewers.
     
  • "Jacqueline turned to the waiter and rattled off a sentence in German which brought to Charles's eyes a look of rapt admiration; and the waiter, evidently understanding quite easily what she had said, turned and hurried away."
    (Edgar Wallace, The Mouthpiece, 1935) 
  • "There had always been a shoebox on top of the stove full of baby squirrels rescued from a fallen pine, tenderly wrapped in flannel and bottle-fed into independence."
    (Pam Durban, "Soon." The Southern Review, 1997)
     
  • "She was a fanatic about cleanliness and put out her little bit of garbage wrapped very neatly in yesterday's Christian Science Monitor and tied in a bow with a fresh piece of string."
    (James Alan McPherson, "Gold Coast." The Atlantic Monthly, 1969)
     

Usage Notes

"You might have rapped Tommy on the knuckles during his maths class in order to direct his attention to quadratic equations. Clearly the word rapped is the past tense of the verb 'to rap.' If you are rapt, you are in a state of unearthly wonderment. It is a state induced by listening to great music, having a religious revelation, or being absorbed by your charismatic lecturer discoursing on the philosophy of Plato. There are also stories of being rapt and in that state being transported from one place to another without any tangible means. Something that is wrapped is something that is securely covered and possibly tied up in a convenient shape for transport or handing over to someone else."  
(David Rothwell, Dictionary of Homonyms.

Wordsworth, 2007)

Practice

(a) The students listened to the guest speaker with _____ attention.

(b) "The man who sat in the wagon that moved slowly up the road wore an old quilt _____ around his shoulders and a corduroy cap pulled down over his eyes."
(Robert Penn Warren, "Christmas Gift." The Virginia Quarterly Review, 1938) 

(c) "Agatha got out of her car and marched up to the Ford and _____ on the window. The sallow-faced youth opened the window and demanded, 'Wot?'"
(M.C. Beaton, As the Pig Turns. Thorndike, 2011)

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs​

Answers to Practice Exercises: Rapped, Rapt, and Wrapped

(a) The students listened to the guest speaker with rapt attention.

(b) "The man who sat in the wagon that moved slowly up the road wore an old quilt wrapped around his shoulders and a corduroy cap pulled down over his eyes."
(Robert Penn Warren, "Christmas Gift." The Virginia Quarterly Review, 1938) 

(c) "Agatha got out of her car and marched up to the Ford and rapped on the window.

 The sallow-faced youth opened the window and demanded, 'Wot?'"
(M.C. Beaton, As the Pig Turns. Thorndike, 2011)

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words