• n. A snorting, joyful laugh or chuckle.
  • intr. & tr.v. chor·tled, chor·tling, chor·tles

To utter a chortle or express with a chortle. [Blend of chuckle and snort.] chor'tler n.

Word History: "'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy." Perhaps Lewis Carroll would chortle a bit himself to find that people are still using the word chortle, which he coined in Through the Looking-Glass, published in 1872. In any case, Carroll had constructed his word well, combining the words chuckle and snort. This type of word is called a blend or a portmanteau word. In Through the Looking-Glass Humpty Dumpty uses portmanteau to describe the word slithy, saying, "It's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word" (the meanings being "lithe" and "slimy").
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Laughter is an audible expression, or appearance of merriment or happiness, or an inward feeling of joy and pleasure (laughing on the inside). It may ensue (as a physiological reaction) from jokes, tickling, and other stimuli. Inhaling nitrous oxide can also induce laughter; other drugs, such as cannabis, can also induce episodes of strong laughter. Strong laughter can sometimes bring an onset of tears or even moderate muscular pain.

Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain. It helps humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and provides an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group; it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seemingly contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. (Self-Organization in Biological Systems, Princeton University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-691-11624-5 --ISBN 0-691-01211-3) This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows.

The study of humor and laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body is called gelotology.


"When we are tempted to magnify our self-importance, if we stop to contemplate the infinity of the greatness and grandeur of our Makers, our own self-glorification becomes sublimely ridiculous, even verging on the humorous. One of the functions of humor is to help all of us take ourselves less seriously. Humor is the divine antidote for exaltation of ego."[1]