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chor·​tle ˈchȯr-tᵊl How to pronounce chortle (audio)
chortled; chortling ˈchȯrt-liŋ How to pronounce chortle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to sing or chant exultantly
he chortled in his joyLewis Carroll
: to laugh or chuckle especially when amused or pleased
She chortled with delight.

transitive verb

: to say or sing with a chortling intonation
"… nothing whatever to worry about," he chortled merrily.Kevin Myers
ˈchȯrt-lər How to pronounce chortle (audio)


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plural chortles
: a laugh or chuckle expressing pleasure or amusement
a chortle of delight
I hear a catbird's bubbling notes, sounding like the bird is half strangling itself to get them out, the rapid-tonguing chortle of a red-bellied woodpecker …John P. Wiley, Jr.
The grin escalates into a chuckle, the chuckle to a chortle.Robert Palm

Examples of chortle in a Sentence

Verb He chortled, “You're going to love this.” audiences might chortle gently during the movie's amusing bits, but there are few knee-slappers
Recent Examples on the Web
In one careful hour that guy pulled the rug out from everything the Eve hypothesis people ever said, chortles Wolpoff. Joann C Gutin, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Some people were chortling over something a Fox reporter did the other day. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 8 Dec. 2023 Recall, for example, how Les Moonves, then the chairman and CEO of CBS, giggled and chortled in 2016 over the horrifying inanity of the race for the GOP presidential nomination and its featured star, Donald Trump. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2023 Again the political elites chortled — Oprah Winfrey! Christie D’zurilla, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2023 Montgomery chortled when presented such a proposition in the postgame news conference. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 4 Mar. 2023 Get Smart had a retractable machine gun under its hood and a few other essential spy accessories, but his red MK I roadster was otherwise similar to the 1967 Sunbeam Tiger Mk II that will chortle across the ramp at the Worldwide Auctioneers sale running April 22 through 23 in Auburn, Ind. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 18 Apr. 2022 By all means, chortle at the thought of executives racking their brains until the wee hours in search of something more clever, before desperately concluding that the placeholder was good enough. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 11 Jan. 2023 The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah has been booked to tell the jokes that everyone will chortle over at first, then complain about later. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2022
So many laurels hung around one’s neck can easily become heavy, but Mitchell has welcomed all of this fanfare with an amused lightness — a shimmy, a chortle and a fresh round of pinot grigio. Lindsay Zoladz, New York Times, 11 June 2023 The comment evoked a chortle from Prasher, whose typical manner combines irony and earthiness. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Discover Magazine, 17 July 2011 When the book said that someone laughed, Miles offered the engineer a giggle, a chortle, and a cackle; when a character steepled their fingers, Miles did, too. Daniel A. Gross, The New Yorker, 16 Dec. 2022 The animator has what might most easily be described as a chortle, but such a simplification doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of his breathy, high-pitched chuckle. Joseph Longo, Vulture, 30 Apr. 2021 The beloved bird is universally endearing with its brilliant blue and orange plumage and melodious chortle. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 June 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chortle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably blend of chuckle and snort

First Known Use


1871, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1891, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chortle was in 1871

Dictionary Entries Near chortle

Cite this Entry

“Chortle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


chor·​tle ˈchȯrt-əl How to pronounce chortle (audio)
chortled; chortling ˈchȯrt-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce chortle (audio)
: to chuckle especially in satisfaction
chortle noun
ˈchȯrt-lər How to pronounce chortle (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on chortle

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