Types of Laughter and Their Meanings

By Mary Smith. Updated: September 5, 2023
Types of Laughter and Their Meanings

Some people are easily recognizable by their laugh. You can hear it down the street without the person laughing being in sight and know who they are in an instant. Some people are thought to have lovely laughs, others are considered not so lovely. The circumstances of the laugh is also important as some can be delightful and others creepy. Laughter is a physiological response and is a reaction to various stimuli, both internal and external. It is also incredibly beneficial to the human organism. Not only does it elevate mood through the dopamine response, but it oxygenates the body as the lungs work faster and reduce blood pressure.

It is very important to laugh, but you might be unaware that there are variations in how we laugh which can say something about us in a given situation. Find out what with oneHOWTO and our guide to the 12 types of laughter and their meanings.

1. Fake laugh

Simulated or fake laughter is one that is produced voluntarily and intentionally. It occurs because we make it happen, not spontaneously. It is a type of laughter that has a purpose, although this is not necessarily bad. For example, we may laugh at a friend's bad joke to encourage them.

Fake laughter does not originate from natural emotional stimulation, but rather is induced by the person themselves. For this reason it does not have the same benefits of real emotional-response laughter.

2. Candid laugh

Candid, genuine or frank laughter is one that occurs naturally and involuntarily. It arises from some kind of natural emotional stimulation. It is a type of laughter that does not have a defined objective because it arises spontaneously, i.e. without being premeditation.

Frank or true laughter brings us many health benefits and is the one most associated with happiness. Maybe you will get a genuine chuckle from some of these ideas for funny WhatsApp chat names?

Types of Laughter and Their Meanings - 2. Candid laugh

3. Guffaw

The laughter is a type of loud spontaneous laughing. It is by far one of the most expressive types of laughter. It can come when you don't expect it, but it is more likely to happen when you have been filled to bursting with the funny. For example, if you see a really funny comedian and they keep ratcheting up the comedic tension. You guffaw when you can't hold it in your belly anymore and your eyes start to water.

4. Social laughter

Whether real or simulated, social laughter fulfills a clear communicative purpose within professional or personal relationships. It is a laugh that is not necessarily entirely genuine, but we use it to encourage others socially or to show that we deserve our membership of a certain group. It can also be used manipulatively. For example, you may want to ingratiate yourself into a social group so you laugh at jokes you don't find funny.

5. Inappropriate laugh

It is a genuine laugh, but triggered in inappropriate situations. It consists of laughing when you shouldn't or when it doesn't make any sense for you to laugh. It can cause awkward moments depending on the social context in which it occurs.

The laughter that arises when someone tells you something bad or something bad is a protection mechanism used by the brain. It may be inappropriate for the other person and even cause offense, but it may be a natural way for our minds to cope with certain information.

6. Roar

You may have heard an audience described as ‘roaring with laughter’. This is because the laughing is so voluminous and hearty that it sounds primal, like the roar of a beast. It is an impetuous and noisy laugh which is very difficult to stop as it usually happens when you get caught up in a funny moment. It can provide a serious boon to your emotional and physical well-being, but it can also leave you with stomach pains.

Types of Laughter and Their Meanings - 6. Roar

7. Chuckle

It's a quieter laugh. It can be simulated, but is mostly associated with social contexts. The chuckle is mild and relatively inexpressive, but it equally can also be genuine. Some people do not often laugh loudly and for them, a quiet chuckle could be our equivalent of peeing ourselves laughing.

8. Giggle

The giggle is genuine and comes without explanation, but is usually infectious and difficult to stop. It is usually associated with contagious laughter due to .mirror neurons. These are neurons that modulate their activity when they witness someone else doing something. They are related to empathy and giggling can be a lot of fun. Giggling can also get us in trouble, such as when we are at school and we find something funny at an inappropriate time.

Types of Laughter and Their Meanings - 8. Giggle

9. Nervous laughter

Nervous laughter is genuine, but it is not associated with pleasant feelings. It is a laugh that the brain induces when it needs to reduce accumulated stress in any way. In this case, laughter becomes a defense strategy with which you try to combat the tension linked to nervousness. In short, a person with nervous laughter laughs is trying to relieve stress unconsciously.

10. Demeaning laugh

It is a simulated or false laugh with a clear objective: to ridicule another person. In this sense, the laughter becomes a weapon to denigrate another individual. For this reason, not only does it not provide benefits for those who laugh, but it is also a painful experience for the person being ridiculed.

11. Ironic laugh

Ironic laughter is simulated or false laughter that, in a certain social context, becomes a display of irony. You laugh at something with the clear intention of demonstrating or expressing that it generates all kinds of feelings except laughter. Ironic laughter is a very powerful form of non-verbal communication.

Learn more about how irony is used in letters with our article on the main figures of speech in poetry.

12. Evil laugh

It is a theatrical laugh that tries to show malevolent intentions before some plan. The evil laugh has become a kind of comic resource used by villains who laugh in a very false way, being a symbol of their most hidden intentions. It doesn't necessarily mean the person who uses it is ‘evil’, but we may find we laugh in a way which is naughty or inappropriate at the expense of someone else.

As you can see laughter and happiness are not always the same thing. However, it is often an expression of joy, something we can learn more about in our article on how to be happy without friends.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Types of Laughter and Their Meanings, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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