in ,


Definition: To laugh loudly

Pronunciation: Kak-en-aht

Origin: The first ‘cachinnations’ were heard in the English language in the early 17th century – though it took another two hundred years or so for the laughter to stop and for it to be properly recognized as a verb. It originates with the Latin word ‘cachinnatio’, meaning ‘violent laughter’.

Why This Word:

There is something fascinating about cachinate. In the English language, there exists the ‘cackle’. In Old High German, people experienced the ‘kachazzen’. In Sanskrit, shoulders convulsed to the sounds of a ‘kakhati’. In ancient Greece, people, no doubt talking about the strength of the economy, experienced the ‘kakhazein’. In short, it seems that there is a near-universal recognition of uncontrolled laughter having a k-k sound and that sound has been represented in the language.

How to use this word in a sentence?

Cachinnate is not one for everyday use, I suspect, despite its link to the universal k-k  laughter sound. The English language does have the related word ‘cackle’ – but it usually indicates a laughter that is synonymous with an evil deed.

Could one conceivably cachinnate in a comedy club? Perhaps only where alliteration is sought … I believe, however, that there may well be a future for the cachinnation. If you are ‘that guy’ in your group of friends that refers to a planned night out with friends as ‘a celebration of epicurean delights’, or regularly uses the word ‘cacophony’ as a generic collective term, then you can cachinnate to your heart’s content.


What do you think?

1000 points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


Leave a Reply