Printable Version
Pronunciation: -ki-nayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To guffaw, laugh loudly and uncontrollably, even convulsively.

Notes: Here is a word containing the Latin letter for the sound [k] and the Greek digraph for the same sound. Someone who cachinnates is a cachinnator and what he does in known as cachinnation, rather cachinnatory behavior.

In Play: If you want to show off your vocabulary, today's word is the perfect substitute for guffaw: "The drunken lot at the office party cachinnated when Larry donned the lampshade and did his spoof of the company's president." Right here at home we can say things like this: "If 'The 100 Funniest Words in English' doesn't make you cachinnate, it will arouse a lot of chuckles between its covers."

Word History: Cachinnate comes from Latin cachinare "to guffaw", whose spelling indicates it was borrowed from Greek, this time from kakhazein "to laugh loudly". The consensus of etymologists (professional, semiprofessional, and amateur) is that today's Good Word has an imitative origin, in other words, created by onomatopoeia. If true, this creation must have occurred in Proto-Indo-European, for we find evidence of it in Sanskrit kakhati "laughs". Armenian khakha "loud laughter", Dutch kakelen "to cackle", and English cackle. (Today's absolutely fascinating Good Word was one of the many suggestions submitted by M. W. Gringa, a newcomer who lives in New Zealand and fine addition to our happy band of contributors.)

Dr. Goodword,

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