laughter

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See also: Laughter

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English laughter, laghter, laȝter, 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.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, chapter 1, in Twelve O'Clock:
      There was some laughter, and Roddle was left free to expand his ideas on the periodic visits of cowboys to the town.
  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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Browne
      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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
      Archly the maiden smiled, and with eyes overrunning with laughter.
  3. (archaic) A reason for merriment.

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈlau̯xtər/, /ˈlɛi̯xtər/, /ˈlaxtər/, /ˈlixtər/

Noun[edit]

laughter (plural laughtres)

  1. Laughter; the production of laughs or snickers.
    • a. 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “Book IV”, in Troilus and Criseyde, line 862-868:
      She was right swich to seen in hir visage / As is that wight that men on bere binde / Hir face, lyk of Paradys the image / Was al y-chaunged in another kinde. / The pleye, the laughtre men was wont to finde / On hir, and eek hir Ioyes everychone, / Ben fled, and thus lyth now Criseyde allone.
      She was such to see in her visage / like that woman that men on a bier notice; / Her face which was the image of Paradise / had totally changed to another kind; / the play, the laughter men tended to find / on her, and all her joys as well / had left, and there Cressida now lies alone.
  2. An instance or bout of laughing or laughter.
  3. A humorous matter; something worthy of being derided.

Descendants[edit]

References[edit]