Laughing uncontrollably, as in Joke after joke had me in stitches. Although the precise idiom dates only from about 1930, Shakespeare had a similar expression in Twelfth Night (3:2): “If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me.” Stitches here refers to the sharp local pain (known as a stitch in the side) that can make one double over, much as a fit of laughter can.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use in stitches in a sentence
The filling-in stitches consist of combinations and groupings of many of the stitches previously illustrated and described.The Art of Modern Lace Making | The Butterick Publishing Co.
The greater the variety in the filling-in stitches, the more beautiful the lace.The Art of Modern Lace Making | The Butterick Publishing Co.