laughter

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, from Old English hleahtor (laughter, jubilation, derision), from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (laughter), from Proto-Indo-European *klek-, *kleg- (to shout). Cognate with German Gelächter (laughter, hilarity, merriment), Danish and Norwegian latter (laughter), Icelandic hlátur (laughter). More at laugh.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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laughter (usually uncountable, plural laughters)

  1. The sound of laughing, produced by air so expelled; any similar sound.
    Their loud laughter betrayed their presence
  2. A movement (usually involuntary) of the muscles of the laughing face, particularly of the lips, and of the whole body, with a peculiar expression of the eyes, indicating merriment, satisfaction or derision, and usually attended by a sonorous and interrupted expulsion of air from the lungs.
    • The act of laughter, which is a sweet contraction of the muscles of the face, and a pleasant agitation of the vocal organs, is not merely, or totally within the jurisdiction of ourselves. - Sir Thomas Browne
    • Archly the maiden smiled, and with eyes overrunning with laughter - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. (archaic) A reason for merriment

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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