Diction Exercise (222)
Choose the most appropriate synonym for the verb laugh in the following sentences.
Answers and Explanations
1. When Gladys dropped her pom-poms, humiliating herself in front of the crowd, Belinda snickered gleefully.
A snicker is a covert laugh indicating malicious delight. A chuckle is also a quiet laugh, but without malice.
2. Every time the teacher read a 19th century poem containing the word gay, the class giggled nervously.
Giggling is usually associated with girls or with young children. It is frequently the result of nervousness. Chortling is a quiet way of laughing, often indicative of a sense of triumph.
3. When the team’s star fullback came out on the stage dressed like a girl, the other team members loudly guffawed.
A guffaw is a loud, boisterous laugh, usually associated with coarse men. Snigger, like snicker, suggests a hateful kind of half-concealed laughter.
4. Noisy boys and tittering girls thronged the square.
Tittering, like twittering, is a word applied to girls or women rather than to men. The word suggests nervousness.
5. "I was going to tell you, honest!" Sam said.
Jack scoffed. "Sure you were," he replied. "Next year, maybe."
A scoff isn’t exactly a laugh; it’s an expulsion of breath expressing disdain or ridicule.