An expression of mirth peculiar to the human species; the sound heard in laughing; laughter. See Laugh, "And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind." (Goldsmith) "That man is a bad man who has not within him the power of a hearty laugh." (F. W. Robertson)
1. To show mirth, satisfaction, or derision, by peculiar movement of the muscles of the face, particularly of the mouth, causing a lighting up of the face and eyes, and usually accompanied by the emission of explosive or chuckling sounds from the chest and throat; to indulge in laughter. "Queen Hecuba laughed that her eyes ran o'er." (Shak) "He laugheth that winneth." (Heywood's Prov)
2. To be or appear gay, cheerful, pleasant, mirthful, lively, or brilliant; to sparkle; to sport. "Then laughs the childish year, with flowerets crowned." (Dryden) "In Folly's cup still laughs the bubble Joy." (Pope) To laugh at, to make an object of laughter or ridicule; to make fun of; to deride. "No wit to flatter left of all his store, No fool to laugh at, which he valued more." (Pope) To laugh in the sleeve, to laugh secretly, or so as not to be observed, especially while apparently preserving a grave or serious demeanor toward the person or persons laughed at. To laugh out, to laugh in spite of some restraining influence; to laugh aloud. To laugh out of the other corner (or side) of the mouth, to weep or cry; to feel regret, vexation, or disappointment after hilarity or exaltation.
Origin: OE. Laughen, laghen, lauhen, AS. Hlehhan, hlihhan, hlyhhan, hliehhan; akin to OS. Hlahan, D. & G.lachen, OHG. Hlahhan, lahhan, lahhn, Icel. Hlaeja. Dan. Lee, Sw. Le, Goth. Hlahjan; perh. Of imitative origin.
(01 Mar 1998)
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