A ha-ha is either an abrupt laugh or a wall that's sunken into the ground so that people can see over it. And if you find sunken walls humorous, you can let out a ha-ha when you see a ha-ha.

You might respond to a joke with a ha-ha, or say it sarcastically when your brother tells his dumb knock-knock joke again. Landscape designers use ha-ha in a completely different way: it's a kind of ditch with a retaining wall built into it. Ha-has were historically used to keep grazing animals out of gardens while providing the illusion of uninterrupted expanses of lawn. The name comes from the expression of surprise as someone discovers the hidden wall.

Definitions of ha-ha
  1. noun
    a loud laugh that sounds like a horse neighing
    synonyms: haw-haw, hee-haw, horselaugh
    see moresee less
    type of:
    laugh, laughter
    the sound of laughing
  2. noun
    a ditch with one side being a retaining wall; used to divide lands without defacing the landscape
    synonyms: haw-haw, sunk fence
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a long narrow excavation in the earth
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week