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[laf-ter, lahf-] /ˈlæf tər, ˈlɑf-/
the action or sound of laughing.
an inner quality, mood, disposition, etc., suggestive of laughter; mirthfulness:
a man of laughter and goodwill.
an expression or appearance of merriment or amusement.
Archaic. an object of laughter; subject or matter for amusement.
Origin of laughter
before 900; Middle English; Old English hleahtor; cognate with Old High German hlahtar, Old Norse hlātr; see laugh
Related forms
laughterless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for laughter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The laughter and talk were as little subdued as the scheme of the rooms.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The laughter at this sally was all it should have been, even the host joining in it.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Cornelius was in fits of laughter, which he scarcely tried to choke.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • The supposition was greeted with a great burst of laughter from Cornelius.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • She never heard the end of the story, but was roused by the laughter that followed it.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for laughter


the action of or noise produced by laughing
the experience or manifestation of mirth, amusement, scorn, or joy
Word Origin
Old English hleahtor; related to Old Norse hlātr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for laughter

late 14c., from Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (cf. Old Norse hlatr, Danish latter, Old High German lahtar, German Gelächter); see laugh (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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