>>Ways To Describe Laughter: Do You Know Your Lingo?

Ways To Describe Laughter: Do You Know Your Lingo?

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!

2018-12-06T22:21:05+00:00Laughter Blog|

About the Author:

Sebastian Gendry is a change-maker, coach and consultant with a passion for laughter. His life mission is help people live a happier, healthier and more connected life at a higher level of vibration. He played a major role in introducing Laughter Therapy in North America, Russia, and other countries and has been traveling every year to 3-6 continents since 2008 offering a variety of speaking and Laughter Wellness events, the method he created. He is a repeat TEDx speaker and has appeared in 100+ newspapers and magazines as well as major TV shows, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, 60 minutes and ABC Good Morning America. He encapsulates and shares the power of positive and playful energy and creativity.


  1. Alex March 28, 2018 at 10:05 am - Reply

    These are synonyms to laughter and similar expressions of amusement or delight, not ways to describe laughter….

    • Dale May 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      I see many of these as synonyms but many of the words are also onomatopoeia words used to describe the actual types of laughter.

  2. Ariel May 18, 2018 at 2:56 am - Reply

    I was going to say something similar to Alex. I wouldn’t really consider a smirk, smile, or grin as a form of laughter. They’re signs of amusement, but I don’t think you’re really in laughter territory until there’s sound involved. Just my two cents.

  3. Mark Humphries December 30, 2018 at 3:20 am - Reply

    I liked these examples but I was looking for something different. I want to describe a nervous laughter when someone is afraid but wants to cover that fear…

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