Advertisement

Have the last laugh

  • The phrase have the last laugh is an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beat around the bush, cut the mustard, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, ankle biter, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom have the last laugh, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    To have the last laugh means to ultimately triumph, to achieve vindication. The implication is that one has been thought to be incompetent or on the wrong track, and has ultimately shown that his actions were correct. Related phrases are has the last laugh, had the last laugh, having the last laugh. The idiom have the last laugh is derived from a proverb: He who laughs last, last best (or loudest). A proverb is a short, common phrase or saying that imparts a particular wisdom. This proverb may be found in a play known as The Christmas Prince, performed at Oxford College in 1608:
    “Laugh on laugh on my freind / Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end.”

    Advertisement


    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist