"Laughing to myself" is explained here: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/laugh-to-myself.1707033/

Imagine a situation where you find something very amusing but it would not be appropriate to laugh out loud. So you suppress all outward signs of laughter, but you enjoy the amusement of the situation. You would have laughed otherwise.

Is there a German equivalent to this phrase?

3 Answers 3


Duden – Das Stilwörterbuch as well as Duden – Das große Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache include the expression innerlich lachen:

er musste innerlich (im Stillen) lachen


sie musste innerlich (insgeheim, für sich) lachen


Accordingly, Duden-Oxford – Großwörterbuch Englisch translates:

innerlich lachen laugh inwardly or to oneself

  • I'm not sure which one (this or tofro's answer) I should accept. Both seem to be true. Thanks to you both guys. I'm accepting the one with more votes.
    – Oguz Kurt
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 12:56

You probably would express this in German as

Ich lachte in mich hinein

literally "laughed into myself". This is the exact expression used to express the "I won't show I'm laughing"-feeling.


Sich ins Fäustchen lachen

Is a somwhat hidden laughing, and the dictionary provides laugh into ones sleeve as English counterpart.

  • 5
    I'm not sure this is quite right. "Sich ins Fäustchen lachen" seems to carry a strong connotation of laughing because something bad happens to another person and you take pleasure in it. You would "ins Fäustchen lachen" if your annoying colleague struggles in a presentation, or if you see a devious plan of yours work out. So I would submit that this a very particular kind of laughing to yourself/innerlich lachen/in sich hineinlachen.
    – johnl
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 8:49

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