\ ˈlaf How to pronounce laugh (audio) , ˈläf \
laughed; laughing; laughs

Definition of laugh

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to show emotion (such as mirth, joy, or scorn) with a chuckle or explosive vocal sound The audience was laughing hysterically.
b : to find amusement or pleasure in something laughed at his own clumsiness
c : to become amused or derisive a very skeptical public laughed at our early efforts— Graenum Berger
2a : to produce the sound or appearance of laughter a laughing brook
b : to be of a kind that inspires joy the blue sky of Autumn laughs above— Amy Lowell

transitive verb

1 : to influence or move by laughter laughed the bad singer off the stage
2 : to utter with a laugh laughs her consent



Definition of laugh (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of laughing
2a : a cause for derision or merriment : joke
b : an expression of scorn or mockery : jeer
3 laughs plural : diversion, sport play baseball just for laughs

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Other Words from laugh


laughingly \ ˈla-​fiŋ-​lē How to pronounce laughingly (audio) , ˈlä-​ \ adverb

Examples of laugh in a Sentence

Verb What are you laughing about? The audience was laughing hysterically. I've never laughed so hard in my life. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw what he was wearing. I laughed out loud when I saw him. He laughed so hard I thought he'd die laughing. The movie was hilarious. We laughed our heads off. “I've never seen anything so ridiculous,” he laughed. Noun He gave a loud laugh. a joke that always gets a big laugh The movie has a lot of laughs. You're going to be a movie star? That's a laugh.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then his dad, the upbeat wisecracker who makes them all laugh, even while holed up during a pandemic., "Metro Detroit family with coronavirus speaks out: 'It's unlike anything. Stay home.'," 22 Mar. 2020 The authorities, though, weren’t laughing: Mr. Limonov spent 2½ years in jail in the mid-2000s on weapons charges. Neil Genzlinger,, "Russian author, political activist Eduard Limonov dies at 77," 18 Mar. 2020 In the church courtyard, where dozens of children laughed and played, a reporter found Rev. Jeffrey David Newell, the church’s pastor. Katie Zavadski, ProPublica, "Dozens of Catholic Priests Credibly Accused of Abuse Found Work Abroad, Some With the Church’s Blessing," 14 Mar. 2020 By the time they were done, her mother was laughing and smiling. Ashley Vaughan, CNN, "After losing her mom to cancer, a woman found healing - and love - writing thank you notes to veterans and first responders," 22 Feb. 2020 In another win for Sony Pictures, Bad Boys for Life is laughing much louder than expected in its North American box office debut while, across town, Dolittle is going to the dogs for Universal. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Huge $23.5M Friday, 'Dolittle' Goes to the Dogs," 18 Jan. 2020 The audience laughed, but Yovanovitch assured the crowd no one thought the situation was funny at the time. Michael Reschke, Indianapolis Star, "Ex-Ukraine ambassador on coronavirus: 'Epidemics can’t be subdued by tweet'," 8 Mar. 2020 Wild! [laughs] Women were told that intellectual endeavors, like reading and writing, were physically harmful to them, even though patients like Gilman knew that the opposite was the case. Leah Carroll,, "This New Book Is For Every Woman Who’s Been Called “Too Much”," 2 Mar. 2020 And so, began the iconic daytime TV conversation that made the Lemonade singer laugh more than once. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Tyra Banks Recreates That Famous Beyoncé Interview with Herself," 28 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun See more updates More live coverage: Global Markets New York A laugh in dark times? New York Times, "What to Watch, Listen to and Read During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine," 19 Mar. 2020 And still others will just require the healing touch of a smile or a good laugh. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland, "TV can be a source of escape and comfort in coming weeks," 16 Mar. 2020 Unfortunately for everyone stuck at home and in need of a good laugh, late-night TV shows will also be taking breaks. Lydia Wang,, "Late-Night Shows From Seth Meyers To Samantha Bee Go Dark During Coronavirus Pandemic," 14 Mar. 2020 There's nothing like starting off your week with a good laugh brought to you by Good Morning America's Michael Strahan. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'GMA' Fans Are “Crying” Over Michael Strahan’s “Extra” Behind-the-Scenes Instagram," 2 Mar. 2020 Much of it is bad and sure to give you and the gang over there a good laugh. Lucas Gardner, The New Yorker, "For the Person Who’s Fixing My Laptop," 4 Jan. 2020 What better way to ring in holiday cheer than by reining in some good laughs? Erin Cavoto, Country Living, "25 Funny Reindeer Jokes That Will Totally Sleigh Your Friends and Family," 2 Dec. 2019 Flores said bashfully with a laugh as video of the play was posted on social media this week. Safid Deen,, "Brian Flores’ college battle against UM’s Frank Gore was hit-and-miss," 18 Oct. 2019 Blessed with the most infectious laugh in politics, Harris still has time to surmount her problems, finding a message and a rationale for her campaign. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Democrats Don’t Have a Frontrunner," 15 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'laugh.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of laugh


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for laugh

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English hliehhan; akin to Old High German lachēn to laugh

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Time Traveler for laugh

Time Traveler

The first known use of laugh was before the 12th century

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Statistics for laugh

Last Updated

26 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Laugh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for laugh


How to pronounce laugh (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of laugh

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to show that you are happy or that you think something is funny by smiling and making a sound from your throat
: to think or say that someone or something is foolish and does not deserve serious attention or respect
: to not be bothered by something



English Language Learners Definition of laugh (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or sound of laughing
: something that causes laughter : something funny or foolish
chiefly British : a funny person


\ ˈlaf How to pronounce laugh (audio) , ˈläf \
laughed; laughing

Kids Definition of laugh

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to show amusement, joy, or scorn by smiling and making sounds (as chuckling) in the throat



Kids Definition of laugh (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or sound of laughing

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More from Merriam-Webster on laugh

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for laugh

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laugh

Spanish Central: Translation of laugh

Nglish: Translation of laugh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of laugh for Arabic Speakers

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