have the last laugh

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.
  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 Phrases

  1. laugh at,
    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.
  2. laugh off, to dismiss as ridiculous, trivial, or hollow: He had received threats but laughed them off as the work of a crank.
  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: She’s proud of her promotion, but she’ll laugh out of the other side of her mouth when the work piles up.Also laugh on the wrong side of one’s mouth/face.
  5. laugh up one’s sleeve. sleeve(def 7).


  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 laughterhe laughed his derision at the play
  4. (tr) to bring or force (someone, esp oneself) into a certain condition by laughterhe laughed himself sick
  5. (intr foll by at) to make fun (of); jeer (at)
  6. (intr foll by over) 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 laughterthat holiday was a laugh
  4. the last laugh the final success in an argument, situation, etc, after previous defeat

1680s, from laugh (v.). Meaning “a cause of laughter” is from 1895; ironic use (e.g. that’s a laugh) attested from 1930. Laugh track “canned laughter on a TV program” is from 1961.


late 14c., from Old English (Anglian) hlæhhan, earlier hlihhan, from Proto-Germanic *klakhjanan (cf. Old Norse hlæja, Danish le, Old Frisian hlakkia, Old Saxon hlahhian, Middle Dutch and Dutch lachen, Old High German hlahhan, German lachen, Gothic hlahjan), from PIE *kleg-, of imitative origin (cf. Latin cachinnare “to laugh aloud,” Sanskrit kakhati “laughs,” Old Church Slavonic chochotati “laugh,” Lithuanian klageti “to cackle,” Greek kakhazein). Originally with a “hard” -gh- sound, as in Scottish loch; the spelling remained after the pronunciation shifted to “-f.”

If I coveted nowe to avenge the injuries that you have done me, I myght laughe in my slyve. [John Daus, “Sleidanes Commentaries,” 1560]

Related: Laughed; laughing.

see last laugh.

In addition to the idioms beginning with laugh

  • laugh all the way to the bank
  • laugh and the world laughs with you
  • laugh at
  • laughing matter
  • laugh off
  • laugh one’s head off
  • laugh out of court
  • laugh out of the other side of one’s mouth
  • laugh up one’s sleeve

also see:

  • canned laughter
  • die laughing
  • it’s to laugh
  • last laugh
  • no joke (laughing matter)
  • shake with laughter
54 queries 0.582