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





Laugh (plural Laughs)


  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.”


Derived terms



to Laugh

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to Laugh (third-person singular simple present Laughs, present participle Laughing, simple past and past participle Laughed)
  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.
  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



Derived terms

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.


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

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