Middle English Dictionary Entry

laughen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To laugh (in amusement, triumph, derision, etc.); smile; jeer; of the eye(s: show pleasure or amusement; (b) ~ for scorn (bismare), ~ ascorn, to laugh in scorn; ~ faste (loude, loudere steven, on height), laugh aloud, loudly; ~ or louren (frounen), laugh or scowl; whatever (one) does; in all circumstances, no matter what; ~ smere, smere ~, laugh contemptuously; ?also, laugh happily; ~ with mouth, laugh, smile; (c) to laugh, rejoice, express pleasure; be happy, revel, enjoy oneself, make sport; of the face: be cheerful, be bright; also fig.; of the heart: rejoice inwardly; ~ in his herte, rejoice in his heart, laugh inwardly; (d) ppl. as adj. smiling, laughing, pleasant; also fig.; laughing eie(s, laughing eyes; laughing chere, laughing face, cheerful manner.
(a) To laugh at (sth.); rejoice over (sth.); look with favor on (sth.); (b) ~ gret (a loud) laughter, to laugh loudly; (c) ~ thi fille, to laugh your fill; ~ his herte fille, laugh to his heart's content; (d) refl. to laugh oneself (to death); (e) ~ to (at, into) scorn, ~ to bismare (hoker, scorn, etc.), ~ til (unto) hething, to laugh (sb.) to scorn, ridicule (sb.).
With prep.: (a) ~ on (to, up, upon), to smile at (sb.), look with favor on (sb.), look fondly at (sb.); also fig.; ~ on everi man, laugh openly; (b) ~ on (upon), to laugh at (sb.); deride (sb.); (c) ~ at (of), to laugh at (sb. or sth.); mock (sth.), make little of (sth.); (d) ~ at (for, in, of), to laugh because of (sth.); be glad of (sth.), rejoice in (sth.); also fig.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • 1372 Ber þe wel (Adv 18.7.21)p.17 : Spek seldom and skilfuliche. Ne lauque nouth to lithliche.
  • Note: ?NF
    Note: Suppl. If this is laughen v. we don't have the spelling. If it is something else, we don't have it.--per MJW

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1483(?a1450) OT in Caxton Gold.Leg.(Caxton)41bb : Abraham fyl doun his face toward therthe and lawhted in his herte.
  • c1483(?a1450) OT in Caxton Gold.Leg.(Caxton)42aa : She sayd she smylid ne lawhed not, and our lord said 'it is not so for thou lawhedest.'
Note: New spellings and forms added to form section: (3 sg. p.) 'lawhed' and (2 sg. p.) 'lawhedest'. Both belong to sense 1.(a).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1500(?a1425) Boeth.Bk.Comfort (BodAuct F.3.5)228/73 : The soule of a man shal be mad stedfast in a wise meene betwene the laughynge prosperite of unseker Fortune and her aduersarie glomynge.
Note: Additional evidence for sense 1.(d), laughing present ppl. as adjective, 'associated with happiness, or even giddiness'.