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Laugh last, laugh longest

see Last laugh

Laugh like a drain

Presumably, the gurgling sound made by a drain prompted this simile, which according to Eric Partridge is British forces slang from c. 1940.

Laughing gear

British slang for the mouth dates from the 1970s.

Laughing stock

A laughing stock is an object of ridicule and dates from the early 16th century. It derives from the medieval punishment of placing wrongdoers in the...

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Laughter is the best medicine

It is not known who coined these actual words, but the concept itself is found in the Bible, Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine....

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see Rest on one’s laurels

Law is an ass

Some sources attribute this to Charles Dickens when it was said by Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist (1838), “If the law supposes that … the law is a ass, a...

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Law of the jungle

These days, usually signifies anarchy or lawlessness but this is not what Rudyard Kipling meant when he coined the expression in The Second Jungle Boo...

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Law unto themselves

We often talk of this or that person being a law unto themselves but are mostly unaware that we are quoting St Paul in his letter to the Romans 2:14 w...

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Lay an egg

To fail embarrassingly dates from the 19th century. It is interesting that the expression is common to both Britain and America and derives from sport...

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Lay down the law

Address an issue authoritatively without discussion dates from the 18th century.

Lay it on thick

To lay it on thick is to exaggerate grossly, to overstate or flatter. The original concept was coined by Shakespeare c.1598 as lay it on with trowel b...

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Lay it on with a trowel

This was the original concept of lay it on thick and was coined by Shakespeare in As You Like It Act I, Scene II, “Well said: that was laid with a tro...

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Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan is the name given to a revolving device for serving condiments or snacks, which first appeared on American dining tables at the beginning o...

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Informal expression for a lazy person dates from the late 16th century.

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