laugh up sleeve


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laugh up (one's) sleeve

1. To try to hide that one is laughing at someone else. Ron may seem like a nice guy, but he laughs up his sleeve whenever he's around someone he dislikes. The popular kids laugh up their sleeves every time I walk by—it's so infuriating.
2. To rejoice or be amused secretly and/or contemptuously, as at another's mistakes or misfortunes. Though they are feigning sympathy, I'm sure my colleagues are all laughing up their sleeves at me for being chewed out by the boss. I know it is mean spirited, but I cannot help but laugh up my sleeve when I see someone slip on the icy streets.
See also: laugh, sleeve, up

laugh up one's sleeve

to laugh secretly; to laugh quietly to oneself. Jane looked very serious, but I knew she was laughing up her sleeve. I told Sally that her dress was darling, but I was laughing up my sleeve because her dress was too small.
See also: laugh, sleeve, up

laugh up one's sleeve, to

To be secretly amused. This term, originally laughing in one’s sleeve, alludes to concealing mirth by hiding one’s face in the big loose sleeves of old-time fashions. It dates from the early sixteenth century and was included in John Heywood’s 1546 proverb collection. See also up one's sleeve.
See also: laugh, up