\ 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 laugh (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 Try not to laugh at a pink mochi wearing wire-rim spectacles and a sleep mask. Washington Post, "‘Waffles + Mochi’ and ‘Nadiya Bakes’ are the cooking shows I watch even when I don’t want to cook," 23 Mar. 2021 But the fact that Fessy doesn’t at least laugh this comment off says a lot. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, "The Challenge: Double Agents Recap: Girls Just Wanna Have Fessy," 11 Mar. 2021 They both just like making people laugh in real life, too. Myles Tanzer, WSJ, "How Golden Globe Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Make Everyone Around Them Funny, Too," 28 Feb. 2021 Actress, host, and comedian Niecy Nash has been making audiences laugh for more than two decades and seemingly doesn’t plan on slowing down one bit. Kisha Forde, Essence, "7 Roles That Made Us Fall In Love With Niecy Nash," 23 Feb. 2021 Mendoza was known for his playful demeanor, frequently chatting with his colleagues and making people laugh, Cavazos said. Andres Picon, San Antonio Express-News, "Harlandale ISD trustee Mendoza, dead at 61, was known as playful, dedicated," 22 Feb. 2021 Wow, this is a great family movie for all ages to be able to sit-down and relate to and enjoy and laugh. Derek Lawrence,, "The King's New Legacy: LeBron James on taking the Space Jam mantle," 5 Mar. 2021 How could Affleck possibly make de Armas laugh so hard? Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Being Stuck at Home for a Year Has Led to One Repeated Question: What’s Ben Affleck Doing Now?," 4 Mar. 2021 Both deep and well developed and frequently laugh out loud funny. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'Detransition, Baby' Is as Good as Everyone Says It Is," 1 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not everyone embraced it eagerly, Nelson said with a laugh. John Reinan, Star Tribune, "Rooftop preaching helps bring Hopkins congregation together during COVID-19 pandemic," 26 Mar. 2021 Scott said Luck was always game to do anything on-air for a laugh, even at the cost of his physical health. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Obituary: 1948-2021: Former KUSI newsman Rod Luck remembered for oversize personality," 6 Mar. 2021 What surprised her most, Campbell said, is that people were not only grateful for the hearty laugh during a difficult time but that many were genuinely touched by the silly mother-daughter bonding experience. Washington Post, "How a mother-daughter standoff over a dirty sock became a viral sensation," 15 Dec. 2020 Nix’s comment seemed to make waves in Alabama’s locker room, with wide receiver DeVonta Smith showing the quote to Jones for a laugh. Mike Rodak |, al, "Mac Jones takes no offense to ‘game manager’ label, agrees with it," 14 Dec. 2020 Something that did happen during the reunion episode — at least on set — was the reappearance of Fulton's legendary slap shot, Henson admits with a laugh. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Mighty Ducks original film stars returning for an episode of Disney+ revival," 18 Mar. 2021 Charmaine Chow, GetHarley’s founder and CEO, says with a laugh. Angela Lei, Forbes, "GetHarley: The Digital Platform Set To Revolutionise The Medical Aesthetic Industry," 17 Mar. 2021 Cruz certainly wasn’t alone in having a laugh at California’s misfortune. Matt Young, Chron, "Ted Cruz's tweets about California blackouts look really dumb right now," 16 Feb. 2021 Now it's been viewed over 1.4 million times, and everyone, including Johns, is having a good laugh about it. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "CNN Correspondent Joe Johns fought off a raccoon seconds before returning to a 'New Day' live shot," 7 Oct. 2020

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

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Laugh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for laugh



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

Nglish: Translation of laugh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of laugh for Arabic Speakers

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