Interesting and Unusual Words: “Guffaw”

By Matt Vicker

“Guffaw”

Sure we can all ‘ha-ha’ like Nelson from The Simpsons, but does anyone still ‘guffaw’ at something really funny? I have to admit, my Sister’s 18th birthday is coming up, so my family were looking back at old photos to use at her party. I was guffawing so much I nearly fell off my chair. The OED characterises ‘guffaw’ as a ‘burst of coarse laughter; a loud or boisterous laugh’ in its noun-form. Unsurprisingly, the verb form is just the action of the noun ‘to laugh coarsely’.

I think that it is not something that we come across too much nowadays in everyday speech. The only reason it sprang to my mind as an interesting and unusual word was because it was used in an interesting TED Talk on text speak and modern English, that I was showing a PAL class the other day (linked below). But I want your opinion on whether or not you are someone who enjoys a good guffaw every now and then? Or if you think that it could be a word that will become rarer and rarer as language develops in the coming years? Comment below!

The OED entry for ‘guffaw’: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/82283?rskey=ZQN91u&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid

TED Talk on text speak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmvOgW6iV2s

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