Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. one who never laughs (especially at jokes); a mirthless person

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who never laughs.

Etymologies

Derived from the Greek agelastos ("not laughing"), itself stemming from gelaein ("to laugh"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One minute you're learning that Sir Issac Newton chuckled only once in his life (scoffing at Euclidean geometry) and that the term for such people who don't laugh is 'agelast'; the next that the apparently nonsensical elephant jokes that were popular in the Sixties are believed to be racist in origin; the next how Bertrand Russell put down a heckler during one of his lectures on logic.

    Chortle News RSS

  • For example, an agelast is someone who never laughs.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • agelastful

    June 2, 2014

  • I was your agelast June, I think.

    October 1, 2010

  • Someone who never laughs.

    October 1, 2010

  • "sam was an agelast, always seen with a serious face, and never cracked a laugh"
    http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/unuwords.htm

    September 30, 2010

  • "Such (meta)satire not only labels Osborne a carnival agelast or unlaughing lenten hypocrite (Bakhtin 212-13) like Carroll's Queen of Hearts, but also suggests the dystopian undercurrents of carnival that post-Bakhtinians like Michael André Bernstein stress: 'when the tropes of Saturnalian reversal of all values spill over into daily life, they usually do so with a savagery that is the grim underside of their exuberant affirmations' (6)."
    Mark M. Hennelly (2009). ALICE'S ADVENTURES AT THE CARNIVAL. Victorian Literature and Culture, 37 , pp 103-128 (p 106)
    doi:10.1017/S106015030909007X

    February 11, 2009

  • JM had a good old laugh with his mate the agelast

    February 6, 2009

  • This word 'ultimately' and the infinitive ending on gelaein hide rather than illuminate the etymology. The root is gel- "laugh", with thematic ending -a- (this puts it into a subclass of verbs and shows up in many derivatives). Then gel-a-st- is an adjectival stem, showing up in gelast-os, -ê, -on "laughable" and the noun gelastês (feminine gelastria) "laugher, sneerer". With the negative prefix it is the adjective agelast-os, -ê, -on "unlaughing". It is this that Rabelais borrowed, dropping the ending as usual to fit it into French.

    July 31, 2008

  • One who has imbibed water from the fountain of youth.

    July 31, 2008

  • Mmm... oddly akin unto aghast.

    July 31, 2008

  • Troopie, your source is showing!

    May 7, 2008

  • From Greek agelastos (not laughing), ultimately from gelaein (to laugh).

    May 7, 2008

  • Gr. agelastos, not laughing; ultimately from gelaein, to laugh. Coined by the French Renaissance writer Rabelais, or so the source quoted in the OED suggests.

    July 2, 2007

  • Anyone have any sort of etymology for this?

    February 23, 2007

  • One who never laughs.

    February 23, 2007