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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
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.
The "concomitant" risk of spending an hour on the Hotline includes bouts of earache and an occasional case of split sides.
More than a dozen company engagements at BAM over the years include the troupe's venue debut in 1966; its first extended season in 1968; Split Sides (2003), with live music by Radiohead and Sigur Ros; and the celebration of Cunningham's birthday with the premiere of Nearly Ninety in 2009.
FANS of political sitcom The Thick Of It will be suffering deja vu (and split sides) over Gordon Brown's "bigoted woman" outburst.