not know whether to laugh or cry

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of not know whether to laugh or cry

: to be both annoyed or disappointed and amused or relieved at the same time
  • I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when she told me she was getting married.

Word by Word Definitions

know play
  1. : to perceive directly : have direct cognition of

  2. : to have understanding of

  3. : to recognize the nature of : discern

  1. : knowledge

whether play
  1. used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives ; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities

  1. : which one of the two

  2. : whichever one of the two

laugh play
  1. : to show emotion (such as mirth, joy, or scorn) with a chuckle or explosive vocal sound

  2. : to find amusement or pleasure in something

  3. : to become amused or derisive

  1. : the act of laughing

  2. : a cause for derision or merriment : joke

  3. : an expression of scorn or mockery : jeer

cry play
  1. : to utter loudly : shout

  2. : beg, beseech

  3. : to proclaim publicly : advertise

  1. : an instance of crying: such as

  2. : an inarticulate utterance of distress, rage, or pain

  3. : outcry, clamor

  1. : cold : freezing


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up not know whether to laugh or cry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!