from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sound made in imitation of laughter.
  • interjection Used to express amusement or scorn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • An imitation of the sound of laughter. See ha.
  • noun A fence formed by a foss or ditch, sunk between slopes and not perceived till approached; a sunk fence. Also written aha, haw-haw.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A sunk fence; a fence, wall, or ditch, not visible till one is close upon it.

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

  • noun A ditch with one vertical side, acting as a sunken fence, designed to block the entry of animals into lawns and parks without breaking sightlines.
  • interjection An approximation of the sound of laughter.
  • noun A laugh.
  • noun Something funny; a joke.

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

  • noun a loud laugh that sounds like a horse neighing
  • noun a ditch with one side being a retaining wall; used to divide lands without defacing the landscape


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

[French, exclamation of surprise, ha-ha (from its being designed not to be seen until closely approached).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French haha, supposedly from ha! as an expression of surprise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License




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  • "(Will you console Zara? Perhaps you have, probing her secret wound with your honey wand, your big, spotted groper lying between her weed-clad walls. Did you give her head-of-state ha-ha? ...)"

    - Germaine Greer, 'Dear John', circa 1969.

    March 28, 2008

  • Came across this wonderful expression in a Mary Balogh book. Need to learn how to add a definition as nothing so far comes close to describing what was and continues to be an awesome landscaping effort from as far back as the time of William the Conqueror. Most interesting is, according to Wikipedia, the note that "The Ha-Ha fence was inspired by Orientalism and the Japanese gardening ideas of concealing barriers with nature." Calling such a ditch seems less than.

    March 8, 2009

  • Hannah: Are you a journalist?

    Bernard: (Shocked) No!

    Hannah: (Resuming) I've been in the ha-ha. Very squelchy.

    Bernard: (Unexpectedly) Ha-hah!

    Hannah: What?

    Bernard: A theory of mine. Ha-hah, not ha-ha. If you were strolling down the garden and all of a sudden the ground gave way at your feet, you're not going to go 'ha-ha', you're going to jump back and go 'ha-hah', or more probably 'Bloody 'ell' . . . though personally I think old Murray was up the pole on that one - in France, you know, 'ha-ha' is used to denote a strikingly ugly woman, a much more likely bet for something that keeps the cows off the lawn.

    (This is not going well for Bernard but he seems blithely unaware.

    Hannah stares at him for a moment.)

    --From Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

    May 8, 2012

  • From Magician's Land: "An amazing number of lost things were recovered: bicycles, pets, keys, odd items of silver, one or two petty criminals, in one case a rogue bassoon which had been stolen and apparently abandoned in a ha-ha when it proved impossible to sell."

    59% of ebook (page numbers only for each chapter) page 24 of 36 pages in chapter.

    September 24, 2014