A chortle is a joyful, partly muffled laugh. If you have a toddler, you will recognize the sound of a delighted chortle, sort of louder and a bit more raucous than a giggle.

In 1871, Lewis Carroll, who wrote "Alice in Wonderland," coined the word chortle in the poem "Jabberwocky," about a son who slays a monster and comes back to his relieved and happy father: "'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy." Experts consider the word a blend of the words chuckle and snort and the laugh itself is also a cross between the two. You may chortle in glee if you find out your work nemesis just got a new job in another office — out of state.

Definitions of chortle

n a soft partly suppressed laugh

Type of:
laugh, laughter
the sound of laughing

v laugh quietly or with restraint

chuckle, laugh softly
Type of:
express joy, express mirth, laugh
produce laughter

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