A movement (usually involuntary) of the muscles of the face, particularly of the lips, 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. See Laugh, "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." (Sir T. Browne) "Archly the maiden smiled, and with eyes overrunning with laughter." (Longfellow)

Origin: AS. Hleahtor; akin to OHG. Hlahtar, G. Gelachter, Icel. Hlatr, Dan. Latter. See Laugh.

(01 Mar 1998)