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From Old English hlæhhan, hlihhan, hliehhan, from Proto-Germanic *xlaxjanan (cf. West Frisian [[laitsje#Template:Fy|laitsje]], Dutch/German lachen, Danish le), from Proto-Indo-European *klak (cf. Welsh [[cloch#Template:Cy|cloch]] 'bell', Latin glōciare 'to cluck', Old Church Slavonic klekotŭ 'laughter, noise', Ancient Greek klṓssein 'to cluck').





Laugh ({{{1}}})


  1. An expression of mirth particular to the human species; the sound heard in laughing; laughter.
    • 1803 The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith, M.B.: With an Account of His Life Page 45: And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind. — Oliver Goldsmith
    • 1869 Lectures and Addresses on Literary and Social Topics Page 87: That man is a bad man who has not within him the power of a hearty laugh. — F. W. Robertson
  2. Something that provokes mirth or scorn.
    • 1921, Ring W. Lardner, The Big Town: How I and the Mrs. Go to New York to See Life and Get Katie a Husband, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, page 73:
      “And this rug,” he says, stomping on an old rag carpet. “How much do you suppose that cost?”
      It was my first guess, so I said fifty dollars.
      That’s a laugh,” he said. “I paid two thousand for that rug.”


  • (expression of mirth): cackle, chortle, chuckle, giggle, guffaw, snicker, snigger, titter, cachinnation
  • (something that provokes mirth or scorn): joke, laughing stock

Derived terms[]

  • a laugh a minute
  • for a laugh
  • have a laugh
  • have the last laugh



to Laugh

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to Laugh (third-person singular simple present -, present participle -, simple past and past participle -)

  1. (intransitive) To show mirth, satisfaction, or derision, by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face, particularly of the mouth, causing a lighting up of the face and eyes, and usually accompanied by the emission of explosive or chuckling sounds from the chest and throat; to indulge in laughter.
    • (A date for this quote is being sought): Queen Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o’er. — Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, I-ii
    • (A date for this quote is being sought): He laugheth that winneth. — Heywood’s Prov.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To be or appear cheerful, pleasant, mirthful, lively, or brilliant; to sparkle; to sport.
  3. (intransitive) To laugh at, to make an object of laughter or ridicule; to make fun of; to deride.
  4. (transitive) To affect or influence by means of laughter or ridicule.
    • (A date for this quote is being sought): Will you laugh me asleep, for I am very heavy? — Shakespeare, Tempest, II-i
    • (A date for this quote is being sought): I shall laugh myself to death. — Shakespeare, Tempest, II-ii
  5. (transitive) To express by, or utter with, laughter; — with out.
    • (A date for this quote is being sought): From his deep chest laughs out a loud applause. — Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, I-iii


  • (show mirth by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face): cackle, chortle, chuckle, giggle, guffaw, snicker, snigger, titter
  • See also Wikisaurus:laugh


  • cry

Derived terms[]

  • he who laughs last laughs best
  • he who laughs last laughs longest
  • laugh away
  • laugh down
  • laughing
  • laugh in someone's face
  • laugh in the sleeve
  • laugh off
  • laugh one out of
  • laugh on the other side of one's face
  • laugh out, laugh out loud
  • laugh out of the other corner of the mouth, laugh out of the other side of the mouth
  • laugh to scorn
  • laugh track
  • laugh up one’s sleeve

Related terms[]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Note: the following were in a translation table for "be or appear gay", which, given the modern meanings, is misleading; the title of this table has now been changed to "be or appear cheerful". The translations therefore need to be checked.

  • Slovene: nasmejan (biti)


  • aghlu,
  • Aghul

ar:laugh de:laugh et:laugh el:laugh es:laugh fa:laugh fr:laugh ko:laugh hr:laugh io:laugh id:laugh it:laugh kn:laugh kk:laugh ku:laugh lo:laugh li:laugh hu:laugh ml:laugh nl:laugh ja:laugh no:laugh oc:laugh pl:laugh pt:laugh ro:laugh ru:laugh simple:laugh sk:laugh fi:laugh sv:laugh ta:laugh te:laugh th:laugh tr:laugh uk:laugh vi:laugh zh:laugh