See also: Laughter


Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English laughter, laghter, laȝter, from Old English hleahtor (laughter, jubilation, derision), from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (laughter), from Proto-Indo-European *klek-, *kleg- (to shout). Cognate with German Gelächter (laughter, hilarity, merriment), Danish and Norwegian latter (laughter), Icelandic hlátur (laughter). More at laugh.



English Wikipedia has an article on:

laughter (usually uncountable, plural laughters)

  1. The sound of laughing, produced by air so expelled; any similar sound.
    Their loud laughter betrayed their presence.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, chapter 1, in Twelve O'Clock:
      There was some laughter, and Roddle was left free to expand his ideas on the periodic visits of cowboys to the town.
  2. A movement (usually involuntary) of the muscles of the laughing face, particularly of the lips, and of the whole body, with a peculiar expression of the eyes, indicating merriment, satisfaction or derision, and usually attended by a sonorous and interrupted expulsion of air from the lungs.
    • (Can we date this quote by Thomas Browne and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The act of laughter, which is a sweet contraction of the muscles of the face, and a pleasant agitation of the vocal organs, is not merely, or totally within the jurisdiction of ourselves.
    • (Can we date this quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Archly the maiden smiled, and with eyes overrunning with laughter.
  3. (archaic) A reason for merriment.

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz.


  • IPA(key): /ˈlau̯xtər/, /ˈlɛi̯xtər/, /ˈlaxtər/, /ˈlixtər/


laughter (plural laughtres)

  1. Laughter; the production of laughs or snickers.
    • a. 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “Book IV”, in Troilus and Criseyde, line 862-868:
      She was right swich to seen in hir visage / As is that wight that men on bere binde / Hir face, lyk of Paradys the image / Was al y-chaunged in another kinde. / The pleye, the laughtre men was wont to finde / On hir, and eek hir Ioyes everychone, / Ben fled, and thus lyth now Criseyde allone.
      She was such to see in her visage / like that woman that men on a bier notice; / Her face which was the image of Paradise / had totally changed to another kind; / the play, the laughter men tended to find / on her, and all her joys as well / had left, and there Cressida now lies alone.
  2. An instance or bout of laughing or laughter.
  3. A humorous matter; something worthy of being derided.


  • English: laughter
  • Scots: lachter, lauchter