View synonyms for laugh


[ laf ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to express mirth, pleasure, derision, or nervousness with an audible, vocal expulsion of air from the lungs that can range from a loud burst of sound to a series of quiet chuckles and is usually accompanied by characteristic facial and bodily movements.

    Synonyms: titter, snigger, snicker, giggle, roar, guffaw, cachinnate, cackle, chortle

  2. to experience the emotion so expressed:

    He laughed inwardly at the scene.

  3. to produce a sound resembling human laughter:

    A coyote laughed in the dark.

verb (used with object)

  1. to drive, put, bring, etc., by or with laughter (often followed by out, away, down, etc.):

    They laughed him out of town. We laughed away our troubles.

  2. to utter with laughter:

    He laughed his consent.


  1. the act or sound of laughing; laughter.
  2. an expression of mirth, derision, etc., by laughing.
  3. Informal. something that provokes laughter, amusement, or ridicule:

    After all the advance publicity, the prizefight turned out to be a laugh.

  4. laughs, Informal. fun; amusement.

verb phrase

    1. to make fun of; deride; ridicule:

      They were laughing at him, not along with him.

    2. to be scornful of; reject:

      They stopped laughing at the unusual theory when it was found to be predictive.

    3. to find sympathetic amusement in; regard with humor:

      We can learn to laugh a little at even our most serious foibles.

  1. to dismiss as ridiculous, trivial, or hollow:

    He had received threats but laughed them off as the work of a crank.


/ lɑːf /


  1. intr to express or manifest emotion, esp mirth or amusement, typically by expelling air from the lungs in short bursts to produce an inarticulate voiced noise, with the mouth open
  2. intr (esp of certain mammals or birds) to make a noise resembling a laugh
  3. tr to utter or express with laughter

    he laughed his derision at the play

  4. tr to bring or force (someone, esp oneself) into a certain condition by laughter

    he laughed himself sick

  5. intrfoll byat to make fun (of); jeer (at)
  6. intrfoll byover to read or discuss something with laughter
  7. don't make me laugh informal.
    I don't believe you for a moment
  8. laugh all the way to the bank informal.
    to be unashamedly pleased at making a lot of money
  9. laugh in a person's face
    to show open contempt or defiance towards a person
  10. laugh like a drain informal.
    to laugh loudly and coarsely
  11. laugh up one's sleeve
    to laugh or have grounds for amusement, self-satisfaction, etc, secretly
  12. laugh on the other side of one's face
    to show sudden disappointment or shame after appearing cheerful or confident
  13. be laughing informal.
    to be in a favourable situation


  1. the act or an instance of laughing
  2. a manner of laughter
  3. informal.
    a person or thing that causes laughter

    that holiday was a laugh

  4. the last laugh
    the final success in an argument, situation, etc, after previous defeat

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Derived Forms

  • ˈlaughing, nounadjective
  • ˈlaugher, noun
  • ˈlaughingly, adverb

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Other Words From

  • out·laugh verb (used with object)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of laugh1

First recorded before 900; Middle English laughen, Old English hlæh(h)an (Anglian); cognate with Dutch, German lachen, Old Norse hlǣja, Gothic hlahjan

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Word History and Origins

Origin of laugh1

Old English læhan, hliehhen; related to Gothic hlahjan, Dutch lachen

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. have the last laugh, to prove ultimately successful after a seeming defeat or loss:

    She smiled slyly, because she knew she would yet have the last laugh on them.

  2. laugh it up, to laugh or joke in a hearty way:

    He was laughing it up with his friends.

  3. laugh out of court, to dismiss or depreciate by means of ridicule; totally scorn:

    His violent protests were laughed out of court by the others.

  4. laugh out of the other side of one's mouth, to undergo a chastening reversal, as of glee or satisfaction that is premature; be ultimately chagrined, punished, etc.; cry: Also laugh on the wrong side of one's mouthface.

    She's proud of her promotion, but she'll laugh out of the other side of her mouth when the work piles up.

  5. laugh up one's sleeve. sleeve ( def 9 ).

More idioms and phrases containing laugh

  • canned laughter
  • die laughing
  • it's to laugh
  • last laugh
  • no joke (laughing matter)
  • shake with laughter

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Synonym Study

Laugh, chuckle, grin, smile refer to methods of expressing mirth, appreciation of humor, etc. A laugh may be a sudden, voiceless exhalation, but is usually an audible sound, either soft or loud: a hearty laugh. Chuckle suggests a barely audible series of sounds expressing private amusement or satisfaction: a delighted chuckle. A smile is a (usually pleasant) lighting up of the face and an upward curving of the corners of the lips (which may or may not be open); it may express amusement or mere recognition, friendliness, etc.: a courteous smile. A grin, in which the teeth are usually visible, is like an exaggerated smile, less controlled in expressing the feelings: a friendly grin.

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Example Sentences

It’s impossible not to think about the people who are missing, impossible not to hear their voices and their laughs or to remember the personality quirks that made them unique.

“One of the best medicines at the moment is having a laugh and having some fun, even if it’s just for five minutes,” McCarthy said.

Implicit in the forum’s bargain, and its name, was that these trades were all high-risk, high-reward bets from traders doing it for the laughs.

Going all in on expensive ad inventory and a message played for laughs or other emotions might fall flat in a very turbulent cultural context, especially given that you have to lock your message months if not weeks in advance.

From Digiday

At last, after all the laughs at their expense, after all the coaching changes and front-office shake-ups, after an endless search for a reliable quarterback and sensible plan, they have some hope.

I watch every episode alone on my couch and I just sit there and laugh, and laugh.

Hopefully, she got as much of a laugh out of it as the rest of the world has.

We love to laugh at Kim and Company because it distracts our souls from the horrific reality of their hermetic regime.

Ramone, who turned to religion while trying to kick drugs, would probably approve (and laugh a little, too).

First we laugh, then we begin to wonder why the man was so distracted that he didn't notice he'd taken the doorknob with him.

He burst into a loud laugh, clapped his hands, and danced before the delighted babe.

Miss Christabel blushed furiously and emitted a sound half between a laugh and a scream.

Soon after they parted, with a sarcastic laugh from the Spaniard, and Ma'amselle mingled with the crowd.

"I verily believe they're gone to look at my button," cried Davy, beginning to laugh, in spite of his fears.

This was somewhat tiresome; and, after a rather feeble attempt at a third laugh, Davy said, "I don't feel like it any more."


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.