15 different ways to describe laughter in the English dictionary:

(Kuhn, 1994, as adapted by Berk, 2001)

  1. Ways to describe laughterSmirk: Slight, often fleeting upturning  of the corners of  the mouth, completely voluntary and controllable;
  2. Smile: Silent, voluntary and controllable, more perceptible than a smirk; begins to release endorphins;
  3. Grin: Silent, controllable, but uses more facial muscles (e.g.,  eyes begin to narrow);
  4. Snicker: First emergence of  sound with facial muscles, but still controllable (if  you hold in a snicker, it builds up gas);
  5. Giggle: Has a 50 percent chance of  reversal to avoid a full laugh; sound of giggling is amusing; efforts to suppress it tend to increase its strength;
  6. Chuckle: Involves chest muscles with deeper pitch;
  7. Chortle: originates even deeper in the chest and involves muscles of torso; usually provokes laughter in others;




  1. Best of Laughter Yoga exercisesLaugh: Involves facial and thoracic muscles as well as abdomen and extremities; sound of  barking or  snorting;
  2. Cackle: First involuntary stage; pitch is higher and body begins to rock, spine extends and flexes, with an upturning  of  head;
  3. Guffaw: Full body response; feet stomp, arms wave, thighs slapped, torso rocks, sound is deep and loud; may result in free flowing of  tears, increased heart rate, and breathlessness; strongest solitary laughter experience;
  4. Howl: Volume and pitch rise higher and higher and body becomes more animated;
  5. Shriek: Greater intensity than howl; sense of  helplessness and vulnerability;
  6. Roar: Lose individuality; i.e., the audience roars!
  7. Convulse: Body is completely out of  control in a fit of laughter resembling a seizure; extremities flail aimlessly, balance is lost, gasp for breath, collapse or  fall off chair;
  8. Die laughing: Instant of total helplessness; a brief, physically intense, transcendent experience; having died, we thereafter report a refreshing moment of  breathlessness and exhaustion with colors more vivid and everything sparkling; everything is renewed.

More Laughter Synonyms

  • Burst out: To suddenly start laughing or crying
  • Collapse: If you collapse into laughter, you start laughing in an uncontrolled way
  • Crack up: To suddenly laugh a lot at something
  • Crease up: To start laughing, or to make someone laugh a lot
  • Die laughing: To laugh a lot
  • Get/have the giggles: To be unable to stop giggling
  • Giggly: Laughing a lot in a nervous, excited, or silly way
  • In fits: Laughing a lot
  • In hysterics: Laughing in an excited and uncontrolled way
  • In stitches: Laughing a lot
  • Kill yourself laughing: To laugh a lot
  • Lose it: To start laughing or crying and be unable to stop
  • Nearly/almost wet yourself: To laugh a lot
  • Split your sides: To laugh a lot
  • To dissolve into: If you dissolve into something such as tears or laughter, you begin to cry or laugh in an uncontrolled way

…and amusement, glee, hilarity, mirth, merriment, rejoicing, snort, snorting, chortling, har-de-har, tehee, tittering…

Do you know other ways to describe laughter? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!