Number one for English language teachers

Your English: Idioms: laugh

Type: Article

With Tim Bowen as your guide to idioms, you’ll be laughing.

If someone is laughing all the way to the bank, it means they are making a lot of money very easily.

To be laughing means to be in a very good situation, especially as a result of something you have received, as in ‘If this deal goes through, we’ll be laughing’. On the other hand, if you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, you feel confused and uncertain about what to do when something bad has just happened, and when other people fail to treat something seriously enough, you can tell them that it is no laughing matter.

If a person is always good for a laugh, they are fun to be with, and if something is a good laugh, it is an activity, situation or experience that is fun. However, if you say that someone is not exactly a laugh a minute, you mean that you think that the person is not funny or enjoyable at all and may be very serious or boring, as in ‘I’m not looking forward to spending six hours on the train with him. He’s not exactly a laugh a minute, is he?’

If you have the last laugh, you end up being more successful than someone who did something bad to you, especially if they laughed when you failed before, as in ‘United thought they’d got the three points but City had the last laugh with two goals in injury time’.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • To expand on the idea there are the email/chat laughs - LOL, LMFHO, ROFL - laugh out loud / laugh my head off,roll on the floor laughing. There's a whole game to be had with the expression, "Laugh, I nearly....." (bought my own drink, voted labour/conservative), students add the most unlikely thing they can think of at the end of the sentence - laugh, I nearly did my homework. Thanks for this idea Tim :) It has brought a smile to my face and a theme to a day of lessons.

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  • And at something that is extremely funny you nearly die laughing.

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