Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To laugh quietly or to oneself.
  • intransitive v. To cluck or chuck, as a hen.
  • n. A quiet laugh of mild amusement or satisfaction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quiet laugh.
  • v. To laugh quietly or inwardly.
  • v. Sounds made by chicken.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short, suppressed laugh; the expression of satisfaction, exultation, or derision.
  • intransitive v. To laugh in a suppressed or broken manner, as expressing inward satisfaction, exultation, or derision.
  • transitive v. To call, as a hen her chickens; to cluck.
  • transitive v. To fondle; to cocker.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a clucking sound, as a hen.
  • To laugh in a suppressed, covert, or sly manner; express inward satisfaction, derision, or exultation by subdued laughter.
  • To call by chucking or clucking, as a hen her chicks.
  • as a chuckle.
  • To chuck under the chin; fondle.
  • To rock upon its center while rotating, as the runner of a grinding-mill.
  • n. The call of a hen to her young; a cluck.
  • n. A sly suppressed laugh, expressive of satisfaction, exultation, or the like; hence, any similar sound.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. laugh quietly or with restraint
  • n. a soft partly suppressed laugh

Etymologies

Probably frequentative of chuck3.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • * chuckle, chuckle* by Tom Murphy on Monday, Dec 8, 2008 at 2: 53: 02 PM

    OpEdNews - Quicklink: New World Trade Center Collapse Videos

  • Thompson is such a wry, friendly presence that his every utterance draws a chuckle from the faithful (most of the time a deserved one, though sometimes he'll say "thanks" and they'll still be in stitches).

    Michael Giltz: Music: Richard Thompson at Town Hall

  • What makes me chuckle is how Microsoft Excel has become the modern-day weapon of choice for any discerning would-be Senior Leadership Team ‘member’ – there are spreadsheets for this, spreadsheets for that – hell, they probably even have starched spreadsheets on their beds.

    Names Will Never Hurt You « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • Also recommended, if you like a good chuckle is his Nobel-nominated novel “The Phases of Harry Moon,” which you can find if you look.

    Happy Birthday Stephen King and H. G. Wells...

  • The latest chuckle from the radical right lobbying group "Family Research Council", via their email update list today: In a tale of ironic tragedy a new study reveals that the Democratic Party is literally killing its political base.

    06/30/2004

  • HOUSTON Jake Delhomme has to laugh, a Cajun chuckle from the heart.

    USATODAY.com - Leadership: Davis inspires on both sides of ball

  • They expected to get dashed to death at the bottom as they went flying down past the different floors, and heard a fiendish chuckle from the Frenchman above their heads.

    The Bradys and the Girl Smuggler or, Working for the Custom House

  • Falco's hooker-girlfriend wants enough money to send her son to a decent school; the john whom Falco sets her up with only wants a "chuckle" - a moment of sexual fun to help him forget who he is.

    Eurozine articles

  • Space dust hasn’t changed much over time and there isn’t much of it (Alley’s deadpan delivery of this line raised a chuckle from the audience).

    2009 December | Serendipity

  • February 8th, 2010 at 10: 04 am well i got a chuckle from the story. what i laughed at more was the complaints about what is good and not good fiction and what should and shouldn’t be published on the EDF web site. i didn’t realize that commenting on EDF policy constituted constructive critism for the author. laura Says:

    AUGAN ISMIC • by Douglas Pugh

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Comments

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  • See susurrations

    March 25, 2012

  • The part of the pig between the tail and anus, according to Kenneth.

    November 25, 2009

  • I would consider snicker a much more malicious kind of laughter than chuckle though neither is particularly desirable. Why is it that laughter-related words are nearly universally unpleasant? guffaw, cackle, snigger, titter, chortle

    September 17, 2009

  • When I think "chuckle" I think man version of "giggle". Either way it's an awesome word.

    April 21, 2009

  • That's it--someone has to add manlaughter to his/her Wordie list.

    May 24, 2007

  • It's not something I've really given much thought to. I suppose it's somewhat gender-neutral, meaning anyone can do it... but when I say girly I guess I'm thinking of a quiet, shy type of laugh, similar to a giggle, a characteristic of girlishness. Maybe that's my patriarchal bias. ;-)

    Though I would submit that snicker is a good word for mildly amused manlaughter.

    May 23, 2007

  • That's odd that you see it in reference to feminine laughter since I almost exclusively see it used (and perceive it) in reference to men. Essentially, it's the masculine version of a giggle. It actually bothers me a lot because, in writing, I'm often compelled to use "chuckle" even though I dislike the word because I can't really think of another one for mildly amused manlaughter.

    May 23, 2007

  • I agree. Funny though, usually when I see this word it's in reference to a cute little restrained girly-type laugh, and yet for me it conjures images of horror-movie clowns freakishly popping out of darkened corners. Perhaps because of the similarity in names, I also think of Chucky from Child's Play.

    May 21, 2007

  • Blech. The use of this word evokes a laugh that is both smug and vaguely sinister. Auditorily, it's a very wet, guttural word, akin to coughing up phlegm.

    May 20, 2007