Chuckle - a quaint old word

Discussion in 'English Only' started by panjandrum, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Context: BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, today.
    John Humphrys, referring to a new "comedy" programme coming on Radio 4, read out the programme blurb from his script. This ended with "....something to make you chuckle." JH added " - a quaint old word."

    Is chuckle a quaint old word?
    It has been used here at least ten times this year so it seems to be alive and well. (OK so I used it twice.)

    Views please?
  2. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    i am a chuckler. for whats it's worth ;)
  3. JennR Senior Member

    New Hampshire
    US English
    I still use it. Usually as an indicator of a sound type in an email or instant message.

    Example: *chuckle* That's a good one!

    Though when I speak I tend to say it's "good for a laugh" or "grins and giggles" vs. "chuckle".

  4. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    It may be old, but I wouldn't call it quaint, which implies odd, strange, unusual...which I may be, along with Benjy, but not in the usual sense of "from olden times". I would call "chortle" quaint, and 'guffaw', but I use "chuckle" from time to time. I recall going to Saturday movies as a kid...double feature for 25 cents! and buying candy called Chuckles...pure sugar. Are these still around? we are:

  5. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    We'll, I too have more than my fair share of chuckles, and I love the word, as in my mother tongue there isn't a verb to describe that specific kind of laughter.

    English is a language rich in verbs that convey different nuances while referring to the same action. Treasure them!!! :D
  6. jacinta Senior Member

    USA English
    Wow, now there's a walk down memory lane. I haven't seen "Chuckles" for years. This could start a whole conversation on nostalgia, so I won't go any further right now. (oh, okay...I bought Jujubes and Jujyfruits that are still around!).

    Just to add, chuckle is a nice word that I like to use. It comes out from time to time.
  7. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
  8. MrMagoo

    MrMagoo Senior Member

    Westphalia, Germany
    Westphalia, Germany; German

    I can see *chuckle* as mentioned in your context in forums very often, too. ;)
  9. Amityville

    Amityville Senior Member

    English UK
    One chuckle is worth about 0.25 of a guffaw, nothing quaint about it, but imho it is a grandad's word, (sorry about that, if you are young and lithe, but do feel free to differ).
  10. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    You're sure "quaint old word" referred to "chuckle"? I'm with Cuchu. "Chortle" is semi-retired, but not "chuckle!"
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is just a hint of a suggestion that "grandad" and "young and lithe" do not belong together.
    With a great deal of effort, I will control myself:eek:

    On the other hand, I am delighted that chuckle is a perfectly normal and current word for most of you - and yes, lsp, there is no doubt about the reference. I was properly awake at the time and actually listening, not just making the coffee with the radio on:)

    Thank you all for your comments. As a regular chuckler, I feel much reassured.
    And I must remember to chortle now and again - didn't realise it began in Jabberwocky!!

    I'll deal with you later, Amityville ....if I remember:cool: ....argh, where's me stick;)
  12. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    I think people still use "chuckle", especially in narratives.

    I'm not sure I would use the word in speech though. Yet it does not sound odd or old to me. :)

  13. JohninVirginia Senior Member

    USA/ English
    "Chuckle" seems to me to be sort of an adult word. Kids don't "chuckle". Maybe "quaint" is not quite the right term for that, but it's close.

    I myself sort of like the word, it's another one with an onomatopoietic character.

    And for those who defend it as not as "old person's" word, just remember, "old" is 20 years older than whatever age you are yourself. For my kids, "chuckle" is an old person's word, for me it's not;).
  14. Amityville

    Amityville Senior Member

    English UK
    Come to think of it, babies chuckle dont they - just out of pure delight in the world, seeing a flower or someone they know. Isn't it slightly high-pitched ?
    I think perhaps you're right John - adult rather than grandad.
    I didnt mean to be ageist, panjandrum, I would be the first to find your dentures for you and help you across the road :D Out of interest do you ever snort or roll on the floor helplessly (with laughter, I mean) ? I know I do, and awful to relate, sometimes make heehaw noises.
    I hope no one here sniggers ?
    Back to John Humphries, maybe he was just waffling on to fill a few seconds airtime, I think I have heard him blatantly doing that before. It is annoying if he has contributed to the sidelining of the word. A person of influence should be more careful. We could perhaps form an Action Group, the Chuckling Nine, or however many we are.
  15. JohninVirginia Senior Member

    USA/ English
    I don't have it handy here, but I looked it up earlier, and my huge desktop dictionary defined chuckle as something like a low pitched laugh as a sign of amusement or satisfaction. To me it implies a certain subtlety that isn't explicit in the definition. I would say a baby does more of a giggle; a higher pitched laugh in response to a simple pleasure (my definition).

    "John Humphries" ... now there's a quaint old name.;)
  16. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    They do, of course; and it's only high-pitched coz they're wee. In fact, a baby's chuckle comes really low in their voice range. Ah but you've brought a tear to my eye ye wee beggar. All is forgiven Amityville. How could I not with such profound understanding? And then there was:
    :thumbsup: well, only now and again:p

    Now THAT really had me in stitches. Be careful though, I think he is Humphrys - I looked that up before I started the thread.

    Again, maximum thanks to all who have helped make my day-and-a-half.
    Yiz all are great craic altogether.
  17. JohninVirginia Senior Member

    USA/ English
    Ach, we all be couthie souls.
    (Sorry to change languages on you... my vocabulary is quite limited.;))
  18. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    Sure, kids chuckle. People of all ages chuckle. Just read a few books for "young adults". But this is only in the narrative. The kids in the books never USE this word when they are talking to each other. ;)


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