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Apparently I want to use this word a fair amount ("she chuckled," etc.), or, more specifically, a word that means "a short and [soft or gentle] laugh."

When I comb online and other digital thesauri, they all seem to return the same limited list: chortle, giggle, laugh softly, snicker, snigger, tee-hee, titter.

In my opinion, only about half of those fit my description, which is pretty much the dictionary definition. I mean, "snicker," really?

Any recommendations? Thanks.

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closed as off-topic by Standback Nov 7 '13 at 14:28

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In the UK, a Snickers is a chocolate bar, as a result, I cannot possibly use this to describe a laugh. I should also add, that I don't like the chocolate bar and had a bad experience in my childhood when I thought it was a Mars bar... Bad times. All in all, 'snicker' isn't the word for me! –  Dan Hanly Nov 7 '13 at 10:22
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@danielhanly.com Snickers is in the U.S. too, but we use "snicker" for a kind of laugh often enough that I don't think it gives too many people pause. –  Lauren Ipsum Nov 7 '13 at 11:23
    
Welcome to Writers.SE! I'm afraid questions asking for words, phrases, and rephrasings are off topic here - take a look at our intro page for more details about Writer.SE, and how the site works :) –  Standback Nov 7 '13 at 14:30
    
How is this off-topic!?!? Ashburne is NOT "asking for help rephrasing a sentence or paragraph." He/she is asking for alternatives to overuse of the word "chuckle." Personally, I find this question quite helpful, and would like to see people's answers. In case you hadn't noticed, real-life people "chuckle" a lot, but for so many different reasons that English really should have 50 words for "chuckle" (i.e., laugh softly) with different shades of meaning. –  dmm Nov 8 '13 at 16:58
    
@dmm: When you have a concern like this (off-topic or not), I suggest bringing it to Meta. There it can be discussed and decided how to handle this question. –  John Smithers Nov 11 '13 at 15:55

1 Answer 1

My recommendations would be to vary your characters' laughters.

English has quite amazing number of words for different types of laughing and it allows to convey a wide gallery of expressions. So instead of having your characters always chuckle and finding synonyms for that, have your character guffaw, snort, laugh throatily, and utilize the whole wide range of expressions that is at your disposal instead of boxing them in with a few names for exactly one expression.

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+1; if you're using the word chuckling too much it's because you're character is chuckling too much, so modifying their action is a good way to go :) –  CLockeWork Nov 7 '13 at 9:39

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