from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To utter a partly stifled laugh: "I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker” ( T.S. Eliot).
  • n. A snide, slightly stifled laugh.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stifled or broken laugh
  • v. To emit a snicker: a stifled or broken laugh.
  • v. To whinny.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A half suppressed, broken laugh.
  • intransitive v. To laugh slyly; to laugh in one's sleeve.
  • intransitive v. To laugh with audible catches of voice, as when persons attempt to suppress loud laughter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To laugh in a half-suppressed or foolish manner; giggle.
  • To say in a giggling manner.
  • Also snigger.
  • n. A halfsuppressed laugh; a giggle. Also snigger.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a disrespectful laugh
  • v. laugh quietly


Perhaps imitative.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
US variant of the British snigger, possibly of imitative origin, similar to Du. snikken "to gasp, sob." The noun is first recorded 1836, from the verb. (Wiktionary)



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  • "Adam laughed: a strange sound like the whickering snicker of a teazle in anger". Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort farm (and I still don't know what whickering means).

    February 15, 2013

  • No, I think WeirdNet's right about this one. I don't think of a snicker as highpitched, to me it the sort of laugh you have at someone else's expense. And it's usually done behind your hand, too.

    April 26, 2008

  • Disrespectful? I don't know about that. To me, a snicker is just a high-pitched chortle (but not so high-pitched as a giggle).

    April 26, 2008