Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!
Laughing very hard, to the point that one cannot control it. Jerry is the funniest guy I know. He can have you in stitches in a matter of minutes. I was in stitches at that comedy show. I could barely breathe it was so funny.
Fig. laughing very hard. Charlie had us in stitches with all his jokes. The movie sure was funny. I was in stitches!
Laughing uncontrollably, as in Joke after joke had me in stitches. Although the precise idiom dates only from about 1930, Shakespeare had a similar expression in Twelfth Night (3:2): "If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me." Stitches here refers to the sharp local pain (known as a stitch in the side) that can make one double over, much as a fit of laughter can.
If you are in stitches, you are laughing a lot. It was so funny — we were in stitches. Note: You can also say that you have someone in stitches, meaning that you make them laugh a lot. Thea had us in stitches with her tales of her family.
in stitcheslaughing uncontrollably. informal
Stitch, in the sense of ‘a sudden localized jabbing pain’, such as might be caused by a needle, is recorded in Old English. It is now generally used of a muscle spasm in the side caused especially by exertion. Shakespeare seems to have been the first to describe stitches brought on by laughter; in Twelfth Night ( 1601 ) Maria invites her fellow conspirators to observe the lovelorn Malvolio with the words: ‘If you…will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me’.
1981 D. M. Thomas The White Hotel She had them in stitches with her absurd—but true— anecdotes.
in ˈstitches(informal) laughing a lot: The film had the audience in stitches.
Overcome with laughter. This expression, which in this precise form dates from about 1930, uses stitches in the sense of “a stitch in the side,” that is, uncontrollable laughter can actually make one’s sides hurt. Shakespeare used a version of it in Twelfth Night (3.2): “If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me.”