not know whether to laugh or cry

not know whether to laugh or (to) cry

To be in an acute state of shock, exasperation, or disbelief by an unexpected tragic or unfortunate event. When the team lost the championship in the final seconds of the game, they and their fans didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. I just found out all of my applications were rejected. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
See also: cry, know, laugh, not

not know whether to ˈlaugh or ˈcry

(informal) be unable to decide how to react to a bad or unfortunate situation: Can you believe she said that to me? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!
See also: cry, know, laugh, not
References in periodicals archive ?
AVRAM GRANT did not know whether to laugh or cry when he found out Portsmouth want to sell more of his stars outside the transfer window.
TV commentator Alan Parry will have divided loyalties at Villa Park and will not know whether to laugh or cry after the Cup semi-final.
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