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[laf-ter, lahf-] /ˈlæf tər, ˈlɑf-/
the action or sound of laughing.
an inner quality, mood, disposition, etc., suggestive of laughter; mirthfulness:
a man of laughter and goodwill.
an expression or appearance of merriment or amusement.
Archaic. an object of laughter; subject or matter for amusement.
Origin of laughter
before 900; Middle English; Old English hleahtor; cognate with Old High German hlahtar, Old Norse hlātr; see laugh
Related forms
laughterless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for laughter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was laughter in court at this reply, which was instantly suppressed.

    A Gamble with Life Silas K. Hocking
  • There was laughter and applause and not a soul offered to leave.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Her laughter was less merciful than the ring of flint on steel.

    Red Nails Robert E. Howard
  • There was a roar of laughter and Murphy followed it quickly.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • He was furious at the laughter of the onlookers, but muffled his rage in soft words.

    Mary Bjornstjerne Bjornson
British Dictionary definitions for laughter


the action of or noise produced by laughing
the experience or manifestation of mirth, amusement, scorn, or joy
Word Origin
Old English hleahtor; related to Old Norse hlātr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for laughter

late 14c., from Old English hleahtor, from Proto-Germanic *hlahtraz (cf. Old Norse hlatr, Danish latter, Old High German lahtar, German Gelächter); see laugh (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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