Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who never laughs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun rare one who never laughs (especially at jokes); a mirthless person

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

Comments

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

  • One who never laughs.

    February 23, 2007

  • Anyone have any sort of etymology for this?

    February 23, 2007

  • 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

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

    May 7, 2008

  • Troopie, your source is showing!

    May 7, 2008

  • Mmm... oddly akin unto aghast.

    July 31, 2008

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

    July 31, 2008

  • 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

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

    February 6, 2009

  • "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