laugh, smile, chuckle, giggle…わらう

laugh, smile, chuckle, giggle…わらう

In English “smile,” “grin,” “giggle,” etc. are completely different words but in #Japanese all of these in the picture can be described using the verb わらう, which is the most common Japanese word for “to laugh.”


Various わらう (Clockwise from top left)

(top left) to smile

  • 微笑ほほえ
  • にこっとわら
  • にこにこわらう/にこにこする – to smile radiantly
    • あのあかちゃんはいつもニコニコわらっている。(Here ニコニコ is written in Katakana to make it stand out.)
      That baby is always smiling.

(top middle) to grin, to smile ironically

  • にやにやわらう/にやにやする (rather negative)
    • ニヤニヤしないでください。
      Stop grinning.

(top right) to smirk, to smile smugly

  • にたにたわらう/にたにたする (negative)
    • にたにたしていると、ひとから気味悪きみわるがられますよ。
      If you have a smug smile on your face all the time, people may find you creepy.

(middle) to chuckle, to giggle

  • くすくすわら
    • わかおんなたちはすぐにくすくすわらいだす。
      Young girls tend to have a fit of the giggles easily.

(bottom left) to laugh out loud

  • けらけらわらう: to cackle
  • こえしてわらう/こえててわらう: to laugh out loud
    • あのあかちゃんは最近さいきんこえててわらうようになった。
      That baby started to laugh out loud recently.

(bottom middle) to laugh loudly

  • 大笑おおわらいする: to laugh loudly
    • ジョンさんのスピーチはみんなを大笑おおわらいさせた。
      His speech sent the company into gales of laughter.
    • 金閣寺きんかくじがどこにあるのかきいたらみんなに大笑おおわらいされた。
      When I asked where the Kinkakuji Temple is, everybody burst out laughing.
  • げらげらわらう: to guffaw
  • 爆笑ばくしょうする: to roar with laughter, to burst out laughing
  • おなかをかかえてわらう/抱腹絶倒ほうふくぜっとうする: to hold one’s sides with laughing
    • そのしらせをいて、みんなおなかをかかえてわらった。
      We all roared with laughter at the news.
  • なみだるほどわらう: to laugh till one cries
  • わらいこける: to be convulsed with laughter

(bottom left): to force a smile, to smile bitterly

  • 苦笑くしょうする/にがわらいをうかべる
    • ジョンさんはこたえにこまっておもわず苦笑くしょうした.
      His inability to reply forced a wry smile from John.

Other Expressions with わらう

  • あざわらう: to sneer
  • わらってごまかす: to laugh things off
    • ジョンさんはよくわらってことをごまかす。
      John often lets things pass with a smile.
  • ひざがわらう: one’s knees give way (under one)
    • 歩き疲れてひざが笑っている。
      My knees are trembling as I am very tired from walking a long way.
  • わらかどには福来ふくきる。
    Fortune comes to a merry home. (proverb)
  • 1 円いちえんわらもの1 円いちえんく。
    He who laughs at a penny will cry for a penny.
  • 来年らいねんのことをえばおにわらう。
    Talk about next year, and the devil will laugh.

For the details of the kanji 笑, click here.

One thought on “laugh, smile, chuckle, giggle…わらう

  1. Reply
    cry, weep, sob, …なく | EasyJapaneseE
    23 July 2021 at 8:00 am

    […] week, I talked about the word わらう (to laugh), today, I’m going to talk about なく (to cry), which is almost the opposite of わらう. […]

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