laughing stock

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From laughing +‎ stock (source, supply; butt, target). Compare also whipping-stock, jesting-stock.


  • (file)


laughing stock (plural laughing stocks)

  1. (idiomatic) An object of ridicule, someone who is publicly ridiculed; the butt of a joke.
    • c. 1598, William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, act 3, scene 1:
      Pray you let us not be
      laughing-stocks to other men's humours.
    • 1856, Lord Macaulay, contribution to Encyclopedia Britannica on Oliver Goldsmith:
      When he talked, he talked nonsense, and made himself the laughing-stock of his hearers.
    • 2004 September 12, Judy Battista, "Pro Football: NFL Matchups, Week 1," New York Times (retrieved 19 April 2009):
      If anyone can restore dignity to a franchise that has been close to a laughing stock in the last few years, it's Gibbs.
    • 2019 February 19, Annie Cohen, 'Yes, There’s Anti-Semitism In Labour. No, Those Politicians Didn’t Quit Over It.', The Forward (retrieved 21 February 2019):
      The split was supposedly triggered by racism — specifically anti-Jewish racism. But on this front, the Independent Group have already become a laughingstock.
    • 2020 December 2, Andy Byford talks to Paul Clifton, “I enjoy really big challenges...”, in Rail, page 54:
      Toronto Transit Corporation had real issues. [...] My boss was removed in a coup three months after my arrival. I stood in and my learning curve went through the roof. Over five years, we went from being a laughing stock to winning awards.


Related terms[edit]