Definition of chortle in English:



  • Laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle.

    ‘he chortled at his own pun’
    • ‘‘Just to let you know what's happening during the lunch break today,’ one radio man chortled on Friday morning.’
    • ‘The two men drive away into the night - cackling, chortling and tossing their hats in the air.’
    • ‘Duncan had beamed and chortled and puffed out cigar smoke contentedly, and Lucasta had thought that when he behaved like this, she wished he would go to China and stay there.’
    • ‘His clear, dreamy blue eyes twinkled joyfully and his infant voice chortled gleefully.’
    • ‘That cracks me up no end - I'm chortling loudly right now.’
    • ‘The band stood there chortling: ‘Your pants, Adrian.’’
    • ‘‘Buddy's not here right now,’ the 18-year-old manager Mandy chortled with her eyes lighting up.’
    • ‘It gets funnier as it goes along, till by the end I was chortling merrily at every second line.’
    • ‘My wife chortled and guffawed too, but neither of us can explain why it works.’
    • ‘‘That was my first lesson in just how tough and dirty national politics can be,’ she chortled over a cup of coffee at the Falcon Manor Hotel.’
    • ‘‘Now we are going to a special place,’ said one man, and the rest chortled ominously.’
    • ‘The jokes were funny - I chortled and snickered - but the plot was all over the place and lacked drive and, well, to me it read like a first draft.’
    • ‘When my flatmates, years ago, chortled through Arachnophobia, I was rigid with terror and couldn't sleep all night.’
    • ‘You've probably chortled to yourself as you realised your mistake.’
    • ‘How I chortled when I first saw the white chamber pot under my bed: how witty, I thought; how whimsical - till I awoke in pitch darkness on the first night with a full bladder.’
    • ‘‘Guess you can't become an American citizen,’ he chortled.’
    • ‘‘All I was thinking was that it didn't matter where he was going to bowl the ball, it was still going for six,’ he chortled.’
    • ‘Howard ends this play chortling like a loon, having the last laugh as ever.’
    • ‘His rapt audience, 16 Indian cricket players in blue blazers, chortled in approval, and later took turns to pump the general's hand.’
    • ‘Some friends of mine already know about this and have likely already chortled at my astounding lack of basic knowledge.’
    chuckle, laugh, giggle, titter, tee-hee, snigger
    View synonyms


  • A breathy, gleeful laugh.

    ‘Thomas gave a chortle’
    • ‘The cashier's explanation elicited chortles of skepticism from everyone.’
    • ‘‘My time frame would be by tomorrow,’ he says with a chortle, admitting his executives tell him it'll take a little longer.’
    • ‘The chortle, though, quickly turned into a loud laugh as the words replayed in her mind and she figured out what they meant.’
    • ‘The two met in the late Eighties while studying medieval history at Manchester University; a fact that led to many chortles about geeks inheriting the dance floor.’
    • ‘The moments when the camera zooms in on Max's conniving face usually sparked a chortle of laughter from my son.’
    • ‘He laughed at first, but his chortles became increasingly laboured as the day wore on.’
    • ‘He stops, lets out a throaty chortle, and starts trucking straight uphill, cutting the switchbacks.’
    • ‘It started as a mild chuckle, elevated itself to a chortle, then blossomed into the longest, loudest, most cathartic hilarity he had ever experienced.’
    • ‘A laugh in the theatre is deeper and more satisfying than a chortle alone in front of the television.’
    • ‘All laughter is highly stereotyped, and our giggles, chortles, and guffaws - even if their context or sonic structure conveys irony or other emotional nuances - are variations on one basic theme.’
    • ‘‘You've left out one detail,’ I snorted, amid chortles.’
    • ‘Besides the warm, humane tone it adopts, ‘The Road Home’ boasts well rounded characters, some sharp observations and a nice line in humour that could chase a chortle out of the most dour reader.’
    • ‘Sarge found this hilarious and began a new round of mad chortles.’
    • ‘When I started talking to the walls, I decided I wanted to do something else,’ she says with a chortle.’
    • ‘Our home rang with the laughter of children interwoven with his deep chortles.’
    • ‘But the chortles, chuckles and giggles are part of a much more serious project.’
    • ‘‘I'm not going to bite you,’ he said, his laugh dissolving into a soft chortle.’
    • ‘No chortle, no chuckle, not even a quarter of a guffaw.’
    • ‘He has also got a shrewd sense of humour, revealed by a hooded look of bored apprehension if the talk meanders into polite inanity, and by an appreciative chortle when it goes the other way, somewhere interesting.’
    • ‘For only $24.95 you'll not only get laughs, but also guffaws, chortles, and giggles.’
    chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, ha-ha, tee-hee, snigger, roar of laughter, hoot of laughter, shriek of laughter, peal of laughter, belly laugh
    View synonyms


1871: coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass; probably a blend of chuckle and snort.