Wacky Word Wednesday #1: Different Ways to Say ‘Laugh’

“When I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.”
– Anne Sexton

It’s our job as writers to use colorful language. Each Wednesday I’ll bring you ways to spice up your writing. Enjoy these posts. I hope you have as much reading them as I do writing them!

This week we’re discussing different ways to say ‘laugh.’ Let’s look at an example.

Emma laughed at the comedian’s jokes.

But how did she laugh?

Did she:

…giggle (laugh nervously but in a silly way)

…chuckle (laugh quietly or even on the ‘inside’)

…snicker (a smothered, half-suppressed laugh)

…bellow (a deep loud roar, usually in pain or anger)


…shrieked (a high-pitch laughter out of excitement)

Defining your character’s laugh is going to help paint a picture for your readers. It denotes facial expression and what your character does with their body.

For example:

Emma shrieked at the comedian’s jokes.

(This implies that Emma is enjoying herself. She may be relaxed in her seat, has a smile on her face and so forth.)

On the flip side…

Emma bellowed at the comedian’s jokes.

This implies that Emma did not find the joke humorous at all. She may be insulted by what s/he said and is pondering leaving.

These hidden cues send a message to your reader without you having to tell them. Instead of you telling the reader Emma walked out of the auditorium, you have said it through her actions.

What other ways can you say ‘laugh’? Leave them in the comments below.

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