laughing

kookaburra

[kook-uh-bur-uh, -buhr-uh]
or laughing jackass

Kookaburra (Dacelo gigas)

Eastern Australian species (Dacelo gigas) of forest kingfisher (subfamily Daceloninae). Its call, which sounds like fiendish laughter, can be heard very early in the morning and just after sunset. A gray-brown, woodland-dwelling bird, it reaches a length of 17 in. (43 cm), with a 3.2–4-in. (8–10-cm) beak. In its native habitat it eats invertebrates and small vertebrates, including venomous snakes. In western Australia and New Zealand, where it has been introduced, it has been known to attack chickens and ducklings.

Learn more about kookaburra with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or laughing gas

Inorganic compound, one of the oxides of nitrogen. A colourless gas with a pleasantly sweetish odour and taste, it has an analgesic effect when inhaled; it is used as an anesthetic (often called just “gas”) in dentistry and surgery. This effect is preceded by mild hysteria, sometimes with laughter, hence the name laughing gas. It is also used as a propellant in food aerosols and as a leak detector.

Learn more about nitrous oxide with a free trial on Britannica.com.

See Laughter
Search another word or see laughingon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature