Definition of laugh in English:

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Pronunciation: /lɑːf/


[no object]
1Make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively amusement and sometimes also of derision: he rarely smiled or laughed she couldn’t help laughing at his jokes we fell about laughing
More example sentences
  • I told her she had already sent one and she laughed and said her memory was going.
  • Your excitement was infectious as you laughed and gasped as we were whirled and twisted.
  • We laughed, we flirted and we agreed to continue having the great talks we have together.
guffaw, chuckle, chortle, cackle, howl, roar, ha-ha, fall about, roar/hoot with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, be doubled up
informal be in stitches, die laughing, be rolling in the aisles, laugh like a drain, bust a gut, break up, be creased up, crease up, crack up
ridicule, mock, deride, scoff at, jeer at, sneer at, jibe at, make fun of, poke fun at, make jokes about, heap scorn on, scorn, pooh-pooh;
lampoon, satirize, caricature, parody;
taunt, tease, torment
informal send up, take the mickey out of
Australian/New Zealand informal poke mullock at
British vulgar slang take the piss out of
dated make sport of
1.1 (laugh at) Treat with ridicule or scorn: many people only laughed at these stories
More example sentences
  • I will think of her laughing at the ridiculousness of what we're both doing.
  • The other driver took my details and he must have been laughing at me as I pulled away - the car was a wreck.
  • To say that I have found motherhood fulfilling and rewarding is sneered and laughed at.
1.2 (laugh something off) Dismiss something by treating it in a light-hearted way: he laughed off suggestions that the company was in trouble
More example sentences
  • Apologize in a lighthearted way, and laugh it off by turning it into a joke.
  • Avoiding, dismissing or laughing them off on a consistent basis means that many important issues go unresolved.
  • She tried to laugh it off dismissively, but her words seemed to pique his interest.
dismiss, make a joke of, make light of, refuse to acknowledge, overlook, turn a blind eye to, discount, ignore, disregard, shrug off, brush aside, scoff at, pooh-pooh, take no notice of, pay no attention to, play down, never mind
informal cock a snook at
1.3 (be laughing) informal Be in a fortunate or successful position: if next year’s model is as successful, Ford will be laughing


1An act of laughing: she gave a loud, silly laugh
More example sentences
  • It was a real laugh, a ha-ha laugh, unlike the fit of hysterics he'd had earlier.
  • But his plan became clear as she started bursting out with guffaws and laughs and giggles when he tickled her.
  • He let out a loud, hearty laugh.
chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, ha-ha, tee-hee, snigger, roar of laughter, hoot of laughter, shriek of laughter, peal of laughter, belly laugh
2 (a laugh) informal Something that causes laughter; a source of fun, amusement, or derision: come along, it’ll be a laugh she decided to play along with him for a laugh that’s a laugh, the idea of you cooking a meal!
More example sentences
  • The head doorman is a bit of joker and you can have a laugh with him but it's not advisable to upset him too much.
  • He loved to have a laugh, a bit of fun and to have a drink.
  • After dinner, people swap stories, play music, have a laugh.
joke, prank, piece of fun, jest, escapade, adventure, caper, romp, practical joke, trick, bit of mischief;
shenanigans, horseplay
informal lark, giggle, hoot
2.1A person who is good fun or amusing company: I like Peter—he’s a good laugh
More example sentences
  • I got on especially well with Colin, who was friendly and a good laugh.
  • She is a good person and a good laugh, and yet she constantly lies.
  • While in NYC check this bar out, the women are gorgeous and friendly too, and the bar staff are a good laugh.
joker, comedian, comic, comedienne, humorist, wag, wit, entertainer, clown, funny man, funny woman, jester, prankster, character
informal card, case, caution, hoot, scream, riot, barrel of laughs
Australian/New Zealand informal hard case



be away laughing

NZ informal Be achieving something with ease: with the right tips and tricks, you’ll be away laughing
More example sentences
  • Once this is overcome you're away laughing.
  • They just needed a little bit of motivation, a bit of that experience, and they've been away laughing.
  • I downloaded my own personal server; I gave the IP number to Walker and we were away laughing.

be laughing all the way to the bank

informal Be making a great deal of money very easily: investors in South Wales Electricity were laughing all the way to the bank
More example sentences
  • Because those of us outside the industry aren't the ones making the money hand over fist and laughing all the way to the bank with the existing system.
  • The real criminals will be laughing all the way to the bank.
  • Because I think it is important for us to know who is laughing and who is ridiculing the pain and suffering of so many and, most importantly, laughing all the way to the bank.

have the last laugh

Be finally vindicated, thus confounding earlier scepticism: the success of his novel meant he had the last laugh on the Irish literati
More example sentences
  • You have to laugh but she'll have the last laugh when she gets offered all the plum roles as a female pirate.
  • ‘I couldn't believe I had scored a goal like that and I couldn't stop laughing but I suppose Rangers had the last laugh,’ he said afterwards.
  • According to government statistics, 70 people are killed and 250,000 are injured doing DIY each year - so you'll be the one having the last laugh when he's wheeled off to casualty.

he who laughs last laughs longest

proverb Don’t rejoice too soon, in case your delight at your own good fortune is premature.
Example sentences
  • Keep on laughing, but remember the old adage, ‘he who laughs last, laughs longest’.
  • Just remember, he who laughs last, laughs longest.
  • ‘One thing I am clear about, though, is that he who laughs last, laughs longest,’ he said.

laugh one's head off

Laugh heartily or uncontrollably: the audience laughed its head off all the way through the show
More example sentences
  • All I can say about that one is that I am laughing my head off!
  • All I can say about that one is that I am laughing my head off!
  • He laughed his head off; and sure enough thought it was soo funny that he called anybody to let them know.

laugh in someone's face

Show open contempt for someone by laughing rudely at them in their presence: I remonstrated with him but he just laughed in my face figurative vandals and muggers who laugh in the face of the law
More example sentences
  • Rose was so furious that this man had the nerve to steal her away from her friends and family, stuff her in a crate, only to open it a while later and laugh in her face.
  • The bishop has moral authority over his priests, but if one of them laughs in his face, that moral authority is useless.
  • This is right by the place where justice is supposed to be served and yet they're laughing in its face.

the laugh is on me (or you, him, etc.)

The tables are turned and now the other person is the one who appears ridiculous: all the critics had laughed at him—well, the laugh was on them now
More example sentences
  • Actually, the laugh is on me, because when I first read the question, I thought it was meant to be a political debate…
  • But this person paid in the long run now the laugh is on him.
  • I sincerely hope the laugh is on him this time, permanently, but he has shown an uncanny ability to worm his way out of trouble and I'm afraid he'll do it again.

laugh like a drain

British informal Laugh raucously: when I told her I fancied her, she laughed like a drain
More example sentences
  • I'm laughing like a drain even before he's delivered the punchlines.
  • If such infantile hyperbole doesn't have you laughing like a drain, you haven't a hope of wading through this somewhat too hefty book.
  • Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit but these had me and The Doctor laughing like a drain in bed last night.

a laugh a minute

Very funny: it’s a laugh a minute when Lois gets together with her dad
More example sentences
  • A veteran of 30 or so such performances, Michael, 37, is guaranteeing a laugh a minute for the diners at the pub/brewery.
  • The stills from the CD cover alone seem to guarantee a laugh a minute / Halloween costume inspiration entertainment fandango.
  • This will be the group's 15th production and all who come along are guaranteed value for money and a laugh a minute into the bargain.

laugh on the other side of one's face (or North American out of the other side of one's mouth)

Be discomfited after feeling satisfaction or confidence about something.
Example sentences
  • And then laughed on the other side of his face when my answer turned out to be correct, ahem.
  • The right honourable gentleman opposite is a very naughty man, and he will laugh on the other side of his face when my ship comes in.
  • I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face.

laugh someone/thing out of court

British Dismiss with contempt as being obviously ridiculous: an application for a course in ‘paintball combat’ was laughed out of court
More example sentences
  • However, if any one of these players had claimed that they were entitled to aim sectarian abuse at opposition fans or spit on the scarf of an opposition fan, they would be laughed out of court.
  • I suspect that they dare not make the threat plainly because they know they would be laughed out of court.
  • Back in May 2002, this proposal was laughed out of court.

laugh oneself silly (or sick)

Laugh uncontrollably or for a long time: the audience was laughing themselves silly
More example sentences
  • I can just imagine them laughing themselves sick as they made the burger.
  • Jon and I have been watching this show every week with splendid abandon, laughing ourselves silly at a safe distance.
  • Needless to say, we spent the afternoon laughing ourselves silly.

laugh something to scorn

dated Ridicule something: she laughed their gossip to scorn
More example sentences
  • Every paid-up Postmodernist knows how to laugh this doctrine to scorn; it is just that most of them disastrously throw out Orwell's politics of lucidity along with it.
  • Their stupid opinion is just as valid as the millions of people who laugh this assertion to scorn.
  • He told me that they had all laughed the comment to scorn, but that now he had been somewhere with no decent plumbing he had to conclude that it was the simple truth.

laugh up one's sleeve

Be secretly or inwardly amused: he must have been laughing up at his sleeve all the time I was interviewing him
More example sentences
  • The woman at the kiosk, who in hindsight clearly didn't give a damn about the cinema ratings system let him through and must have been laughing up her sleeve at us.
  • And I am afraid I also must laugh up my sleeve at this poor reader.
  • His attack must have had the devil laughing up his sleeve.

no laughing matter

Something serious that should not be joked about: heavy snoring is no laughing matter
More example sentences
  • The eerie silence made him look, at moments, like a stand-up comic whose jokes were falling flat; but of course this was no laughing matter.
  • Maggie couldn't joke about her face; it was no laughing matter.
  • It all began as a joke, but the Slow Food movement is no laughing matter.

play something for laughs

(Of a performer) try to arouse laughter in an audience, especially in inappropriate circumstances: he played everything for laughs, especially if there were girls around
More example sentences
  • And while most of the characters are played for laughs, there are some truly poignant moments in this story.
  • Instead he plays it for laughs, as perky one-liners replace probing dialogue.
  • Like everyone else, he played the situation for laughs.


Old English hlæhhan, hliehhan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German lachen, also to laughter.

Words that rhyme with laugh

barf, behalf, calf, chaff, coif, giraffe, Graf, graph, half, scarf, scrum half, staff, strafe, wing half

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: laugh

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