[chuhk-uh l]

verb (used without object), chuck·led, chuck·ling.

to laugh softly or amusedly, usually with satisfaction: They chuckled at the child's efforts to walk.
to laugh to oneself: to chuckle while reading.
Obsolete. to cluck, as a fowl.


a soft laugh, usually of satisfaction.
Obsolete. the cluck of a hen.

Origin of chuckle

First recorded in 1590–1600; chuck3 + -le
Related formschuck·ler, nounchuck·ling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for chuckle

4. See laugh. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chuckle

Contemporary Examples of chuckle

Historical Examples of chuckle

  • "You named the boat after somebody," continued Stumpy, with something like a chuckle in his tones.

    The Coming Wave

    Oliver Optic

  • Only the commanding officer leaned out of his window to chuckle at me.

  • I wonder if he will chuckle or laugh at my suggestion, or will he grin or roar?

    The Last Shot

    Frederick Palmer

  • This deposition flatly contradicted the one which Cope had put with a chuckle into his pocket.

    Back o' the Moon

    Oliver Onions

  • He thought he heard a chuckle—he was certainly pushed far into the court.

British Dictionary definitions for chuckle


verb (intr)

to laugh softly or to oneself
(of animals, esp hens) to make a clucking sound


a partly suppressed laugh
Derived Formschuckler, nounchucklingly, adverb

Word Origin for chuckle

C16: probably from chuck ³
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

Word Origin and History for chuckle

1590s, frequentative of Middle English chukken "make a clucking noise" (late 14c.), of echoic origin. It originally meant "noisy laughter." Related: Chuckled; chuckling.


1754, from chuckle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper