split sides

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split (one's) sides

To laugh uproariously or hysterically. Your jokes are perfect for your speech tonight. You'll have them splitting their sides!
See also: side, split

split one's sides (with laughter)

Fig. to laugh so hard that one's sides almost split. (Always an exaggeration.) The members of the audience almost split their sides with laughter. When I heard what happened to Patricia, I almost split my sides.
See also: side, split

split one's sides, to

To laugh uproariously. This hyperbole dates from the seventeenth century. Thomas Brown used it in Saints in Uproar (1687): “You’d break a man’s sides with laughing.” The word “split” came into use somewhat later. Dickens used it in The Old Curiosity Shop (1840), “He bade fair to split his sides with laughing,” and Harriet Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), “I laughed fit to split.” See also shake with laughter.
See also: split
References in periodicals archive ?
I've only got the tiniest smattering of musical knowledge, '' says the comedian who has split sides at the Edinburgh and Melbourne festivals and won Bafta and British Comedy awards for his playful puns and visual hilarity.
At the beginning of his company's first-ever UK tour ten days ago Londonaudiences saw his recent piece Split Sides, a collaboration with British and Icelandic art rockers Radiohead and Sigur Ros.
This season his company will perform a repertory representing 50 prolific years, including the new work Split Sides and How to Pass, Fall, Kick, and Run, a 1965 work with music by Cunningham's longtime partner, John Cage.
WHY would a joke that can split sides in the north produce only a stony silence in the south?
I'm pleased to hear Donald Dewar is suffering from nothing more than split sides.