Pronunciation Noun

laugh (plural laughs)

  1. An expression of mirth particular to the human species; the sound heard in laughing; laughter.
    • 1803, Oliver Goldsmith, The Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith, M.B.: With an Account of His Life, page 45:
      And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind.
    • 1869, F. W. Robertson, Lectures and Addresses on Literary and Social Topics, page 87:
      That man is a bad man who has not within him the power of a hearty laugh.
    His deep laughs boomed through the room.
  2. Something that provokes mirth or scorn.
    • 1921, Ring Lardner, The Big Town: How I and the Mrs. Go to New York to See Life and Get Katie a Husband, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, page 73:
      “And this rug,” he says, stomping on an old rag carpet. “How much do you suppose that cost?” ¶ It was my first guess, so I said fifty dollars. ¶ “That’s a laugh,” he said. “I paid two thousand for that rug.”
    • 1979, Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
      Life's a piece of shit / When you look at it / Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
    Your new hat's an absolute laugh, dude.
  3. (Britain, NZ) A fun person.
    • 2010, The Times, March 14, 2010, Tamzin Outhwaite, the unlikely musical star
      Outhwaite is a good laugh, yes, she knows how to smile: but deep down, she really is strong and stern.
Synonyms Translations Translations Verb

laugh (laughs, present participle laughing; past and past participle laughed)

  1. (intransitive) To show mirth, satisfaction, or derision, by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face, particularly of the mouth, causing a lighting up of the face and eyes, and usually accompanied by the emission of explosive or chuckling sounds from the chest and throat; to indulge in laughter.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, The Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid. […] (First Quarto), London: Imprinted by G[eorge] Eld for R[ichard] Bonian and H[enry] Walley, […], published 1609, OCLC 951696502 ↗, [Act I, scene ii] ↗:
      But there was ſuch laughing, Queen Hecuba laught that her eyes ran o'er#English|ore.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, Twelve O’Clock:
      The roars of laughter which greeted his proclamation were of two qualities; some men laughing because they knew all about cuckoo-clocks, and other men laughing because they had concluded that the eccentric Jake had been victimised by some wise child of civilisation.
    • 1979, Monty Python, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life:
      If life seems jolly rotten / There's something you've forgotten / And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
    There were many laughing children running on the school grounds.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively, obsolete) To be or appear cheerful, pleasant, mirthful, lively, or brilliant; to sparkle; to sport.
    • a. 1701, John Dryden, “Of the Pythagorean Philosophy. From the Fifteenth Book of {{w”, in The Miscellaneous Works of John Dryden, […], volume IV, London: Printed for J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, […], published 1760, OCLC 863244003 ↗, page 51 ↗:
      The green ſtem grows in ſtature and in ſize, / But only feeds with hope the farmer's eyes; / Then laughs the childiſh year with flow'rets crowned, / And laviſhly prefumes the fields around, / But no ſubſtantial nouriſhment receives, / Infirm the ſtalks, unſolid are the leaves.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. […], epistle II, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, […], OCLC 960856019 ↗, page 17 ↗:
      In Folly’s Cup ſtill laughs the Bubble, Joy; [...]
  3. (intransitive, followed by "at") To make an object of laughter or ridicule; to make fun of; to deride; to mock.
    • 1735, Alexander Pope, “Epistle III. To Allen Lord Bathurst.”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume II, London: Printed by J. Wright, for Lawton Gilliver […], OCLC 43265629 ↗, lines 311–314, page 23 ↗:
      No Wit to flatter, left of all his ſtore! / No Fool to laugh at, which he valued more. / There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends, / And fame, this lord of uſeleſs, thouſands ends.
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, chapter IV, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, London; New York, N.Y.; Melbourne, Vic.: Ward Lock & Co., OCLC 34363729 ↗, page 71 ↗:
      There was something about him, Harry, that amused me. He was such a monster. You will laugh at me, I know, but I really went in and paid a whole guinea for the stage-box. To the present day I can't make out why I did so; [...]
    • 1967, The Beatles, Penny Lane:
      On the corner is a banker with a motorcar / The little children laugh at him behind his back
    Don't laugh at my new hat, man!
  4. (transitive) To affect or influence by means of laughter or ridicule.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i], page 7 ↗, column 2:
      Will you laugh me aſleepe, for I am very heauy.
  5. (transitive) To express by, or utter with, laughter.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, The Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid. […] (First Quarto), London: Imprinted by G[eorge] Eld for R[ichard] Bonian and H[enry] Walley, […], published 1609, OCLC 951696502 ↗, [Act I, scene iii] ↗:
      From his deepe cheſt laughes out a lowd applauſe, [...]
    • 1866, Louisa May Alcott, chapter 8, in Behind a Mask, or A Woman’s Power:
      Fairfax addressed her as "my lady," she laughed her musical laugh, and glanced up at a picture of Gerald with eyes full of exultation.
    • 1906, Jack London, Moon-Face:
      "You refuse to take me seriously," Lute said, when she had laughed her appreciation. "How can I take that Planchette rigmarole seriously?"
Synonyms Antonyms
  • (show mirth by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face) cry, weep
Related terms Translations Translations Translations

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