When we think about laughing, we often think of it as a loud, uproarious noise. However, there are times when we might prefer to laugh a little more quietly than normal. This article will explore some of the best words to describe this quiet form of laughter.
Which Words Can Describe Laughing Quietly?
There are plenty of examples available to us when we want to laugh quietly. You might benefit from checking out one of the following:
- Closed-mouth laugh
- Suppressed laugh
- Hidden laughter
- Private laughter
- Awkward laughter
The preferred version is “chuckle.” It works well to describe someone who is having a quiet laugh to themselves. Often, they do not need someone else involved with their laughter, and it could just have happened from something that caught them off-guard.
“Chuckle” is the best word to talk about laughing quietly. The official definition of the word is “to laugh quietly,” which is why it works. We might want to keep our laugh volume down to spare us from embarrassment or to stop other people from questioning our humor.
The definition of “chuckle,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to laugh quietly.”
These examples will help you to work it out:
- He kept chuckling after every word she said!
- I didn’t mean to chuckle, but now that I’m doing so, I can’t stop myself.
- She wanted to chuckle, but she knew that the teacher would be able to hear her no matter how quiet she was.
“Snicker” works well but is a slightly more negative phrase. We often use a “snicker” to mock somebody. It’s a quiet laugh that allows us to poke fun at someone else. Often, we allow the person we are mocking to hear it without letting them know why we are laughing.
The definition of “snicker,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to laugh quietly at someone or something that you think is silly or slightly ridiculous.”
Some of these examples will help you to understand this one:
- I kept snickering because he kept making stupid mistakes in his tests!
- You don’t have to snicker like that because it’s really rude! I’ll tell on you if you keep doing it.
- Can we all stop snickering now? I understand I said a funny word, but it’s time to grow up!
“Snigger” is similar to “snicker,” and we often use it negatively. It’s another form of quiet laughter that often occurs when someone is being unkind to another person. Usually, the volume of the laugh is just enough to provoke someone without being loud enough to cause trouble.
The definition of “snigger,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to laugh at someone or something in a silly and often unkind way.”
Some of these examples should help you with this one:
- He kept sniggering at me as if I wasn’t even in the room! I wish I could get my own back on him!
- You don’t have to keep sniggering like that. I understand that you think I’m foolish, but I don’t care.
- I kept sniggering because I knew he could hear me. There wasn’t anything he dared to do to stop me!
“Giggle” works well to show that someone is laughing quietly. It’s a more innocent word than “snicker” or “snigger” and shows that someone is in an uncontrollable fit of laughter but is still trying to keep it quiet. It works best to save them from embarrassment.
The definition of “giggle,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to laugh repeatedly in a quiet but uncontrolled way, often at something silly or rude or when you are nervous.”
Some of these examples might help you to make more sense of it:
- I let out the smallest of giggles, but the ears of my teacher never miss a beat.
- I’m sorry that I giggled about it, sir! I’ll make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
- She couldn’t help but giggle when she found out how he felt about her.
“Closed-mouth laugh” describes the action people take to keep their laughter quiet. If you try to laugh with your mouth closed, you’ll notice that it’s much quieter than a standard laugh. That’s why this phrase can work well.
Here are a few ways we can get this one to make sense:
- He let out a quick and painless closed-mouth laugh over the situation before regaining his composure.
- I made a noise because of my closed-mouth laugh, and now everyone is staring at me.
- You didn’t have to laugh with a closed mouth like that, you idiot!
“Titter” works when we want to show that someone is nervously laughing about something. Often, they’ll do this when they don’t know whether they should be laughing at a situation, and they don’t want to be considered strange or rude for doing so.
The definition of “titter,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to laugh nervously, often at something that you feel you should not be laughing at.”
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- I couldn’t help myself! I let out a little titter, and the teacher gave me such a look!
- You shouldn’t have tittered at my comment because it showed me how immature you truly are.
- You didn’t have to titter like that. There wasn’t anything funny in the things I was saying!
“Suppressed laugh” works well to show that someone is trying hard to keep their laugh to a quiet level. They might do this to prevent other people from knowing what they find funny or to save themselves from an embarrassing situation.
Here are a couple of ways you can make this one work:
- I had to come up with a suppressed laugh quickly to save myself from any awkward explanations.
- My suppressed laugh definitely caused a few people in the church to look at me funny.
- He let out a suppressed laugh, but luckily no one else in the room seemed to take note of it.
“Hidden laughter” works well when we want to “hide” our laughter. Typically, to hide a laugh, you keep it quiet so that no one around you can hear it and ask why you’re laughing. It’s similar to “suppressing” a laugh, which is why it works well.
Here are some examples that you can make use of:
- My hidden laughter almost got me into a lot of trouble. Luckily, I managed to stifle it!
- You shouldn’t have hidden your laughter from me! I wanted to share the joke with you.
- I didn’t mean for you to hear my hidden laughter! I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again, sir.
“Private laughter” works well when we want to have a private joke with ourselves. This usually means that no one else is involved and that no one else will understand. Therefore, we laugh quietly to help keep the privacy of the joke.
Here are a few examples to help you with this one:
- I like to entertain myself with some private laughter from time to time.
- He keeps having a private laugh to himself, but I don’t know what it is that he finds so funny.
- Your private laughter is unbearable, and it’s not nearly as quiet as you seem to think it is!
Awkward laughter is the last phrase we want to cover. It works well when you have no real reason to laugh about something. However, the “awkwardness” from the phrase comes from the fact that you can’t contain it, so you try to be quiet.
These examples will help you make more sense of it:
- I couldn’t help myself but laugh awkwardly. Luckily, I don’t think anyone in the room heard me.
- The awkward laughter I managed to hold back was a miracle! It would have got me into so much trouble.
- I didn’t mean to awkwardly laugh while the ceremony was going on! I’m really sorry!
What Does It Mean To Laugh Quietly?
There are many reasons why we might laugh quietly. It might help you to know more about what it means and how to use it.
Laughing quietly means that we are trying to hide the fact we are laughing. We might do this to save ourselves from embarrassing situations or explanations (especially in cases where it’s not appropriate to laugh).
Sometimes, we might remember a joke that someone told us a little while ago. That joke might be enough to cause us to laugh. However, it could happen at any time, meaning it might not always be appropriate to laugh.
For example, if you’re at a funeral or in a business meeting, it’s definitely best to hide your laughter. That’s why it’s sometimes useful to be ready with some quiet laughter while you get over whatever it is that made you chuckle.
Also, in a more rude sense, you might want to laugh quietly behind someone’s back. If someone has said something offensive about a person, you might laugh quietly while they’re close by so that they don’t know what you were saying or laughing about.