Meaning of laugh in English:


Pronunciation /lɑːf/

See synonyms for laugh

Translate laugh into Spanish


[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’
    • ‘he laughed out loud’
    • ‘we fell about laughing’
    • ‘‘Cold meat and apple pie for breakfast?’laughed Peter’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we waited to go out again, we sat in a circle, laughed and ate hot cross buns.’
    • ‘They really laughed and asked some good questions and most of them bought a book.’
    • ‘She told me herself and I laughed until my eyes leaked tears and my nose leaked snot.’
    • ‘The script had jokes in it, you could tell, but no one laughed because of the timing.’
    • ‘She laughed until the tears attempted to roll up her appley cheeks and she had to beg for mercy.’
    • ‘He liked the way sometimes a little crease wrinkled the side of her nose when she laughed.’
    • ‘I laughed all the way through and in the end I left the cinema grinning from ear to ear.’
    • ‘He then laughed in a way that sane people do not laugh and asked for ten male volunteers.’
    • ‘Kate laughed as she looked at him, wondering just what was going through his mind.’
    • ‘Will laughed quietly and I looked up to see him nodding, looking at me softly with a smile.’
    • ‘Matt almost laughed aloud in spite of himself.’
    • ‘Rarely, he remarked afterwards, had an audience laughed so heartily at his jokes.’
    • ‘Amy laughed hysterically at her joke and placed the items on the conveyer belt.’
    • ‘The audience laughed lightly at the absurdity of this.’
    • ‘All the kids around the playground laughed hysterically at this pathetic joke.’
    • ‘With the tension broken, both men laughed heartily at the thought.’
    • ‘He almost laughed out loud at how clumsy he had been at that age.’
    chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, snigger, snicker, cackle, howl, roar, tee-hee, burst out laughing, hoot with laughter, roar with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, hold one's sides, be doubled 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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1laugh atTreat with ridicule or scorn.
      ‘many people only laughed at these stories’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We must not permit the criminals to mock us and to laugh at us when they take advantage of us.’
      • ‘All posts will be treated in the strictest confidence and nobody will laugh at anybody.’
      • ‘They showed no respect for the fact he is going through a hard time and instead tried to have a cheap laugh at him.’
      • ‘It was a local story that inspired the poem about a drunken farmer who laughs at the devil and only just escapes.’
      • ‘If your guidance counselor laughs at you because of what your hope for a career is, ignore them.’
      • ‘The plain card laughs at you, symbolically suggesting that it's a fleeting moment of happiness.’
      • ‘I am aided along this expressway to embarrassment by Alec, who either makes things worse or laughs at me.’
      • ‘My husband laughs at me because I put our children's clothes on the radiator to warm in winter but it is a habit I picked up from my mother.’
      • ‘The only problem is that I have to walk with my legs apart and I look like an idiot that way and everyone looks at me and laughs at me.’
      • ‘Now everyone within a ten mile radius laughs at you in the street.’
    2. 1.2be 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.

    ‘he has a long and hearty laugh at this old joke’
    • ‘Kat gave a little laugh’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He looked back at his friend over his shoulder and laughed a short, hearty laugh.’
    • ‘A nervous little laugh escaped her, to her chagrin.’
    • ‘I gave a mirthless laugh at her joke and continued my search.’
    • ‘She gave a nervous little laugh, unable to hold his gaze any longer.’
    • ‘She laughed a tinkling little laugh, and I wondered if she even knew about Becca.’
    • ‘I have not heard an audience laugh so hard and so long in a movie theater in a long time.’
    • ‘Trying to make the audience laugh is perhaps not much more difficult than trying to explain why it laughs.’
    • ‘Max barely stifled an explosive laugh of relief.’
    • ‘Michael's weak attempt to stifle a laugh was futile.’
    • ‘He had the same lopsided grin he sported to make people laugh at his antics.’
    • ‘Matt laughed so hard that he snorted and it only made us laugh harder.’
    • ‘The man's laugh echoed against the metal walls as he left the hanger.’
    • ‘Her laugh sounded forced and nervous sometimes, but you could tell the difference.’
    • ‘But the laugh sounded false, and she didn't think it was very funny.’
    • ‘All he knew was that that laugh sounded like nothing he had ever heard before.’
    • ‘Make your own mind up and laugh along the way.’
    • ‘A laugh came to her eyes, like she was remembering some funny memory.’
    chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, ha-ha, tee-hee, snigger, roar of laughter, hoot of laughter, shriek of laughter, peal of laughter, belly laugh
    View synonyms
  • 2a 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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For audiences, the point of comedy is to have a laugh.’
    • ‘Sometimes, especially when going to bed, it was good just to have a laugh, and forget about the worries of the day.’
    • ‘It was good to talk about it, have a laugh and clear the air.’
    • ‘Time to actually talk to patients, make a fuss of the kids and have a laugh.’
    • ‘It was good to see the crowd stop taking themselves so seriously and have a laugh for once!’
    • ‘What I miss is being able to relax, see my mates, go for a beer and have a laugh.’
    • ‘Fun, light spirited and cute, you like to have a laugh, but never take a lot of things seriously.’
    • ‘I get dressed up and go to work at a pub or a club; I see colleagues and have a laugh.’
    • ‘Kate's the funny, bubbly one in the group, so wherever they go they always have a laugh.’
    • ‘And if not, well, at least we can all share a good laugh about it.’
    • ‘We're not as good as some of the other teams, but we have a good laugh.’
    • ‘And nothing cures a cold as efficiently as a good laugh.’
    • ‘Who am I to complain about them, they just wanted a good laugh, and I was glad I provided some entertainment on the last lazy, unproductive Friday.’
    • ‘And now for a good laugh: Andie passes along this gem from the Onion.’
    • ‘I have to confess that I always get a good belly laugh out of such nonsense.’
    • ‘And there are plenty of laughs along the way to make up for it.’
    • ‘He showed his sense of humour and gave the public plenty of laughs along the way.’
    joke, prank, piece of fun, jest, escapade, adventure, caper, romp, practical joke, trick, bit of mischief
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A person who is good fun or amusing company.
      ‘I like Peter—he's a good laugh’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If he was a bumbling character in a tv comedy he'd be a good laugh.’
      • ‘She looks great without trying too hard, spends her money on fine wine, is a good laugh but likes to read in her spare time and works in a caring profession.’
      • ‘After I got back, I noticed that my friends from Longsight were there, so we went to join them, which was a good decision because Alan, Paul and Colin are a good laugh.’
      • ‘Despite that, you're a good laugh and fun to be around.’
      • ‘Amanda is a good mate, I haven't seen her much but I know she is a laugh and a great mate, and she is a good mate to Sam as well.’
      • ‘She is a right laugh, imaginative, passionate and most definitely not a worrying stress-head.’
      • ‘I would just like to say what a lovely person Jess is - she really is - and she is a right laugh and can always make people smile when they need to smile.’
      joker, comedian, comic, comedienne, humorist, wag, wit, entertainer, clown, funny man, funny woman, jester, prankster, character
      View synonyms


    a laugh a minute
    • Very funny.

      ‘it's a laugh a minute when Lois gets together with her dad’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We've been over to Grandma's today, her memory is on the wane a little these days, bless her, but she really is a laugh a minute and we never have a dull time when we visit.’
      • ‘The pantomime is a laugh a minute with curly wigs, outrageous costumes, banter and confusion the order of the day.’
      • ‘‘He is a laugh a minute and we are both practical jokers so we got on immediately,’ she said.’
      • ‘Behind its heavy door and a dark glass wall, the formal dining room isn't exactly a laugh a minute.’
      • ‘Last week's meeting was literally a laugh a minute, with a great turnout once more of both members and guests.’
      • ‘I think the decision to throw Ricky and me together throughout the series was a fantastic idea and it has been a laugh a minute.’
      • ‘This movie is cleverly made with a laugh a minute.’
      • ‘Well, that wasn't exactly a laugh a minute was it?’
    be away laughing
    New Zealand informal
    • Be achieving something with ease.

      • ‘with the right tips and tricks, you'll be away laughing’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was away laughing really, because two of the literature questions were about kid's books!’
      • ‘A good greasy feed and bit of ice cream in the morning and I'm away laughing!’
    have a laugh
    British informal
    • 1Enjoy oneself in a light-hearted way.

      • ‘we just muck around in training and have a laugh’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, with 300 films in five languages to his credit, is he having the last laugh on those who rejected his face as being ‘crude and harsh’?’
      • ‘The problem is that the players are invariably selling themselves short and it is the marketing executives that are having the last laugh.’
      • ‘I don't know who is having the last laugh on this one.’
      • ‘For years his proudest boast has been that while others have criticised his growth forecasts, he has ended up having the last laugh.’
      • ‘Then he wrote a best-selling book which sounded very much like having the last laugh at his investors' expense.’
      • ‘Well all I can say is that in a month we'll see who will be having the last laugh.’
      • ‘It's also an old master having the last laugh on a movie project that seemed destined to fail.’
    • 2be having a laughBe talking or acting in a ridiculous or unrealistic way.

      • ‘with these prices they are frankly having a laugh’
    have the last laugh
    • Be finally vindicated, thus confounding earlier scepticism.

      • ‘the success of his novel meant he had the last laugh on the reviewers’
    he who laughs last laughs longest
    • Don't rejoice too soon, in case your delight at your own good fortune is premature.

      ‘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 all the way to the bank
    • Make a great deal of money very easily.

      • ‘investors in South Wales Electricity were laughing all the way to the bank’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Aussies might be crying into their beer over the recent loss of the Ashes to the English cricketers, but they are laughing all the way to the bank with their British investments.’
      • ‘At the moment, the big promoters are laughing all the way to the bank as they pay the same flat registration fee, irrespective of the prices they charge and how many tickets they sell.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the people who will benefit - the rich - will be laughing all the way to the bank…’
      • ‘For themselves, they're grabbing as much as they can, as fast as they can, any way that they can, and laughing all the way to the bank.’
      • ‘And, if tourists come as thick and fast as those visiting cards, Kerala tourism industry will be laughing all the way to the bank.’
      • ‘Whoever came up with the idea of creating special occasions, such as Father's Day, must be laughing all the way to the bank.’
      • ‘And it looks like the show's top advertisers are laughing all the way to the bank.’
    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’
      • ‘vandals and muggers who laugh in the face of the law’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you'd walked up to me over a year ago and said I will be going to the gym twice a week within a few months, I would have laughed in your face.’
      • ‘If anyone had told me in 2002 that I'd be sat at this computer writing about how I had overcome crippling self-doubt, anxiety, and low self-esteem I would have laughed in their face.’
      • ‘If, ten years ago, someone had said that I'd be writing sentences that like I would have laughed in their face in a cynically and postmodernly way, in keeping with my cool, confident image.’
      • ‘At one audition, the casting director laughed in her face.’
      • ‘When he excitedly told me about his new job three weeks ago - earning £12k less than me - I didn't laugh in his face and wave my payslip in his face.’
      • ‘And this time, instead of having the feeling of one person looking at you, it seemed like the whole world was staring and laughing in my face.’
      • ‘I swear fate or something like it was laughing in my face.’
    laugh like a drain
    British informal
    • Laugh raucously.

      • ‘when I told her I fancied her, she laughed like a drain’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's so obvious and not even that original but somehow the joke had never occurred to me and I laughed like a drain.’
      • ‘My beloved is going to laugh like a drain when he reads that.’
      • ‘It'd make me laugh like a drain if I won, which probably isn't a very good recommendation.’
      • ‘Had I been there I would have laughed like a drain.’
      • ‘A friend of mine in her 50s who was active in the women's movement through the 70s laughed like a drain when I told her that.’
      • ‘He thought this was a very funny and laughed like a drain.’
      • ‘It will, however, almost certainly make you laugh like a drain several times.’
      chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, snigger, snicker, cackle, howl, roar, tee-hee, burst out laughing, hoot with laughter, roar with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, hold one's sides, be doubled up
      View synonyms
    laugh on the other side of one's face
    • Be discomfited after feeling satisfaction or confidence about something.

      ‘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.’
      • ‘Mind you, I bet he'll be laughing on the other side of his face when he sees how much I've got.’
      • ‘She will laugh on the other side of her face in 2 years' time.’
      • ‘Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face.’
      • ‘Give him a health problem that stopped him from getting all that exercise through no fault of his own and he'd be laughing on the other side of his face.’
      • ‘I was laughing on the other side of my face when they suggested that I do a guest editing spot - that'll teach me!’
    laugh one's head off
    • Laugh heartily or uncontrollably.

      ‘the audience laughed its head off all the way through the show’
      • ‘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 oneself silly
    • Laugh uncontrollably or for a long time.

      ‘the audience was laughing themselves silly’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By now he was laughing himself silly on the other end.’
      • ‘He seemed to be laughing himself silly at some of the jokes at his expense, but it may be that he's a good enough actor to fake enjoyment.’
      • ‘When my vision finally cleared enough to get a good look at the culprit, I focused in on the store manager who was laughing herself silly.’
      • ‘I wouldn't say the crowd laughed themselves sick, but I was regretting not bringing the video camera for Kirsty's home videos.’
      • ‘All three nearly passed out as they laughed themselves sick.’
      • ‘I laughed myself silly over her tales of her domineering, movie star mother.’
      • ‘The author's name has caused untold hilarity among Britain's schoolboy humour forum, and I've laughed myself silly.’
    laugh out of court
    • Dismiss with contempt as being obviously ridiculous.

      ‘an application for a course in ‘paintball combat’ was laughed out of court’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's not too far-fetched to say the paper was laughed out of court.’
      • ‘Anyone who tried to put it into an election manifesto would be laughed out of court.’
      • ‘‘It's 23 years since I came to this council with this suggestion, but it was laughed out of court,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘Whenever there has been public scrutiny, their evidence has been laughed out of court,’ he says.’
      • ‘He said if he took it to court, given the circumstances, he would be laughed out of court and would have a hard time even finding anyone to take the case.’
      • ‘The ‘scholarship’ used to promote the idea would be laughed out of court if applied to any other ancient book.’
      • ‘If a burglar who meticulously planned and executed a bank robbery tried to argue that he was not responsible because of damage to his prefrontal cortex, he would be laughed out of court.’
    laugh something to scorn
    • Ridicule something.

      ‘she laughed their gossip to scorn’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He seems always to be using the same terms for the same things; so that anyone inexpert and thoughtless might laugh his speeches to scorn.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You were laughing up your sleeve at me and all the other kids who you were putting through this Hell.’
      • ‘Some of my pals are starting to wonder if Mother Nature has been laughing up her sleeve at them all this time.’
      • ‘Deep down, we suspect those we grant our patronage to are secretly laughing up their sleeves at us even as we enrich them.’
      • ‘Little did I know at the time how my manager and new co-workers were laughing up their sleeves.’
      • ‘In any case, the counterrevolution will be a long one, affording us many, many opportunities to be outraged while laughing up our sleeves at the spectacle.’
    no laughing matter
    • Something serious that should not be joked about.

      ‘heavy snoring is no laughing matter’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, I must say that, you know, I always laugh with him, but his policies are no laughing matter.’
      • ‘However the problem of alcohol abuse in Scotland is no laughing matter as it is a major health and social problem that should be addressed seriously.’
      • ‘Everyone jokes about piles, even though they ain't no laughing matter.’
      • ‘Well-timed equipment fires may be a standing industry joke, but the reality is no laughing matter.’
      • ‘The troops like to joke that every chapatti they eat costs 40 rupees but winter life on the heights is no laughing matter.’
      • ‘The butt of many a joke, I soon discover that for the sufferers it is no laughing matter.’
      • ‘Stalking is no laughing matter, especially when a crazy person is threatening to make Welsh rabbit out of one of our national treasures.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The original surf movies basically played the formula for laughs, with a few cheap thrills mixed in.’
      • ‘They played it for laughs, and there were plenty of those.’
      • ‘They feel that I want to play certain scenes for laughs rather than emphasising the seriousness of the situation.’
      • ‘Rock seems uneasy carrying a semi-serious role, and can't conceal his natural urge to play every situation for laughs.’
      • ‘The director encouraged me to play the part for laughs, and so a character developed which was effectively a satire on all my adolescent neuroses.’
      • ‘He thought if you're going to act the fool - and he did in one sense, he had that sort of clownish character - then you had got to play it for laughs.’
      • ‘Learning from experience, we have adopted a highly conservative approach to fiction and mostly play it for laughs.’
    the laugh is on someone
    • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My own marriage give me lots of material for my cartoons, but, unfortunately, my wife is so great that most of the time, the laugh is on me.’

Phrasal Verbs

    laugh off
    • laugh something off, laugh off somethingDismiss something by treating it in a light-hearted way.

      • ‘he laughed off suggestions that the company was in trouble’


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