Definition of chortle in English:



  • Laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle.

    ‘he chortled at his own pun’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some friends of mine already know about this and have likely already chortled at my astounding lack of basic knowledge.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The band stood there chortling: ‘Your pants, Adrian.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Now we are going to a special place,’ said one man, and the rest chortled ominously.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘‘Buddy's not here right now,’ the 18-year-old manager Mandy chortled with her eyes lighting up.’
    • ‘His clear, dreamy blue eyes twinkled joyfully and his infant voice chortled gleefully.’
    • ‘‘Guess you can't become an American citizen,’ he chortled.’
    • ‘My wife chortled and guffawed too, but neither of us can explain why it works.’
    • ‘It gets funnier as it goes along, till by the end I was chortling merrily at every second line.’
    • ‘The two men drive away into the night - cackling, chortling and tossing their hats in the air.’
    • ‘‘Just to let you know what's happening during the lunch break today,’ one radio man chortled on Friday morning.’
    • ‘His rapt audience, 16 Indian cricket players in blue blazers, chortled in approval, and later took turns to pump the general's hand.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘When my flatmates, years ago, chortled through Arachnophobia, I was rigid with terror and couldn't sleep all night.’
    • ‘That cracks me up no end - I'm chortling loudly right now.’
    • ‘Howard ends this play chortling like a loon, having the last laugh as ever.’
    chuckle, laugh, giggle, titter, tee-hee, snigger
    guffaw, cackle, crow
    View synonyms


  • A breathy, gleeful laugh.

    ‘Thomas gave a chortle’
    • ‘He stops, lets out a throaty chortle, and starts trucking straight uphill, cutting the switchbacks.’
    • ‘Our home rang with the laughter of children interwoven with his deep chortles.’
    • ‘He laughed at first, but his chortles became increasingly laboured as the day wore on.’
    • ‘The moments when the camera zooms in on Max's conniving face usually sparked a chortle of laughter from my son.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘My time frame would be by tomorrow,’ he says with a chortle, admitting his executives tell him it'll take a little longer.’
    • ‘‘I'm not going to bite you,’ he said, his laugh dissolving into a soft chortle.’
    • ‘Sarge found this hilarious and began a new round of mad 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.’
    • ‘When I started talking to the walls, I decided I wanted to do something else,’ she says with a chortle.’
    • ‘A laugh in the theatre is deeper and more satisfying than a chortle alone in front of the television.’
    • ‘The chortle, though, quickly turned into a loud laugh as the words replayed in her mind and she figured out what they meant.’
    • ‘‘You've left out one detail,’ I snorted, amid chortles.’
    • ‘It started as a mild chuckle, elevated itself to a chortle, then blossomed into the longest, loudest, most cathartic hilarity he had ever experienced.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the chortles, chuckles and giggles are part of a much more serious project.’
    • ‘No chortle, no chuckle, not even a quarter of a guffaw.’
    • ‘The cashier's explanation elicited chortles of skepticism from everyone.’


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