verb (used without object)
- 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.
- to experience the emotion so expressed: He laughed inwardly at the scene.
- to produce a sound resembling human laughter: A coyote laughed in the dark.
verb (used with object)
- 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.
- to utter with laughter: He laughed his consent.
- the act or sound of laughing; laughter.
- an expression of mirth, derision, etc., by laughing.
- Informal. something that provokes laughter, amusement, or ridicule: After all the advance publicity, the prizefight turned out to be a laugh.
- laughs, Informal. fun; amusement.
- laugh at,
- to make fun of; deride; ridicule: They were laughing at him, not along with him.
- to be scornful of; reject: They stopped laughing at the unusual theory when it was found to be predictive.
- to find sympathetic amusement in; regard with humor: We can learn to laugh a little at even our most serious foibles.
- laugh off, to dismiss as ridiculous, trivial, or hollow: He had received threats but laughed them off as the work of a crank.
- 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.
- laugh it up, to laugh or joke in a hearty way: He was laughing it up with his friends.
- 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.
- 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.
- laugh up one’s sleeve. sleeve(def 7).
verb (tr, adverb)
- to dismiss or dispel (something unpleasant) by laughter
- to make (time) pass pleasantly by jesting
- (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
- (intr) (esp of certain mammals or birds) to make a noise resembling a laugh
- (tr) to utter or express with laughterhe laughed his derision at the play
- (tr) to bring or force (someone, esp oneself) into a certain condition by laughterhe laughed himself sick
- (intr foll by at) to make fun (of); jeer (at)
- (intr foll by over) to read or discuss something with laughter
- don’t make me laugh informal I don’t believe you for a moment
- laugh all the way to the bank informal to be unashamedly pleased at making a lot of money
- laugh in a person’s face to show open contempt or defiance towards a person
- laugh like a drain informal to laugh loudly and coarsely
- laugh up one’s sleeve to laugh or have grounds for amusement, self-satisfaction, etc, secretly
- laugh on the other side of one’s face to show sudden disappointment or shame after appearing cheerful or confident
- be laughing informal to be in a favourable situation
- the act or an instance of laughing
- a manner of laughter
- informal a person or thing that causes laughterthat holiday was a laugh
- the last laugh the final success in an argument, situation, etc, after previous defeat
n.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. v.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. In addition to the idioms beginning with laugh