have the last laugh

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have the last laugh

To ultimately achieve success after encountering adversity or doubt from others. After so many people dismissed her, Lisa had the last laugh by moving to Hollywood and becoming a well-known character actress.
See also: have, last, laugh
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

last laugh, have the

Succeed in the end, after some earlier reverses. For example, We'll have the last laugh when they learn we got the contract. This expression, alluding to laughing at the loser, appeared in slightly different form in the mid-1500s and gave rise to the modern proverbial phrase, He who laughs last laughs best (or He laughs best who laughs last).
See also: have, last
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

have the last laugh

COMMON If you have the last laugh, you become more successful than someone who has laughed at or criticized you in the past. The singer is expecting to have the last laugh on his critics by selling over a million copies of his CD. She was mocked for her lack of political experience. But she has had the last laugh. Her party has increased its number of seats from 112 to perhaps 150.
See also: have, last, laugh
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

have the last laugh

be finally vindicated, thereby confounding earlier scepticism.
There are various proverbial sayings expressing this idea, such as he laughs best who laughs last and he who laughs last, laughs longest .
See also: have, last, laugh
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

have the last ˈlaugh

(informal) be successful at something in the end, even though other people thought that this was not possible: When he invented this machine, everybody laughed at it, but he’s sold 10 000 of them. He certainly had the last laugh.
See also: have, last, laugh
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

last laugh, to have the

To win in the end, after some earlier setbacks. This term is a slightly later version of a proverb recorded by John Ray in 1678, “Better the last smile than the first laughter,” which then became “He who laughs last, laughs best.” The same proverb exists in French, Italian, and other languages. There have been several modern plays on it, such as H. W. Thompson’s “He laughs best whose laugh lasts,” and Terry Cohen’s wry “He who laughs last is generally the last to get the joke.”
See also: have, last
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
* SHE'S been called the 'ultimate chav' but Cher Lloyd could be having the last laugh.
But he is having the last laugh. Never actually claiming to be factually correct, in tonight's episode Henry leads his army as the invasion of France commences, leaving his new wife Catherine Parr in charge of the country.
David Tennant is having the last laugh in his final days as Doctor Who.
ISUPPOSE I should expect a few boos from the crowd in Newcastle tonight - but I'm the one having the last laugh.
ONCE the target of boo-boys at Motherwell, journeyman Townsley is having the last laugh.
Maybe the United hierarchy are having the last laugh after all and a senile Giggs is told he's about to make his debut every week.
But Brown, MP for Dunfermline East, may end up having the last laugh. He is seen teaching his son the finer arts of politics from huge books in a bid to show him how to land the job at No.10.
Bruce Steele's humor in "Having the Last Laugh" was right on the money [Letter From the Editor in Chief, August 19].
But they're the ones having the last laugh, with the calendars selling like hot cakes and so far bringing in more than pounds 3,000 for the Meningitis Trust.
Even if that was just banter McIntyre is surely having the last laugh - Michael McIntyre's Big Show is hammering weekly nails into rival Cowell's X Factor coffin.
I suspect there is a wee rat still on board leaking all these tales of woe but I'd still put my money on Evans having the last laugh.
He may be taking the mickey out of himself and the beautiful people stereotypes but it's Corden who's having the last laugh.
She is a gorgeous-looking girl and is certainly having the last laugh on the bullies."
But the 'coals to Newcastle' type saga has left Tony having the last laugh as business is booming with a six-month order book.
In one way Brooker could end up having the last laugh by retaining his Premiership status, as Bristol are hot favourites to return to the top flight - assuming they can negotiate the perilous promotion play-offs.