had the last laugh


      • to ultimately emerge triumphant or victorious despite previous setbacks or challenges
        Expressing satisfaction or vindication in a situation where one was initially disadvantaged or underestimated

      • to have the final say or outcome in a situation
        Indicating that one has ultimately prevailed or had the final word in a dispute or competition

    Examples of had the last laugh

    • Despite his initial resistance to her ideas, the CEO eventually adopted her innovative strategies, and she ended up being promoted ahead of him.

      This is an example of someone having the last laugh, as the person who initially opposed new ideas ended up being outshined by the one who proposed them.

    • After months of preparation, the rival team appeared to have the upper hand in the final moments of the game. But in a surprise twist, our team managed to score the winning goal in the last few seconds, leaving the other team stunned and silent.

      When a team seems to be losing and then comes back to win at the very end, this is often said to be having the last laugh, as the other team thought they had it in the bag.

    • The politician promised to improve infrastructure in the region, but failed to deliver on his promises. Years later, the current government invested in the area, and now the region is thriving with modern amenities.

      This is an example of someone else having the last laugh, as the politician who initially made a promise to bring change ended up being overtaken by a more successful administration.

    • After experiencing a string of his own misfortunes, the once-wealthy businessman found solace in helping the poor and less fortunate. Years later, his philanthropic efforts led to him being recognized as a hero in the community, earning him the respect and admiration of his peers.

      Although this person initially suffered, he ended up turning the tables and being celebrated for his kindness and generosity. This is an example of someone having the last laugh in a positive and uplifting way.

    • Despite John's constant mockery of Sarah's cooking, she ended up winning the baking competition held by their workplace, leaving John feeling embarrassed and remorseful.

      The idiom "had the last laugh" is used in this example to describe the situation where Sarah, who had been the target of John's derisive comments about her cooking, ended up succeeding and enjoying the final victory, while John, who had previously made fun of her, was left feeling ashamed. This idiom suggests that Sarah was the one who had the final and satisfying laugh, as her success proved her abilities and silenced John's criticism.

    • When the construction company that Mark had invested a considerable amount of money in declared bankruptcy, his wife, who had urged him against the investment, chuckled at his misfortune.

      In this example, Mark's wife had initially expressed her doubts about the investment, but Mark had ignored her advice and proceeded with it, only to suffer a loss. Later, when Mark's prediction did not materialize and the company filed for bankruptcy, his wife gleefully laughed in response to the situation, as she had predicted the failure. This idiom implies that Mark's wife had the last laugh because her foresight and caution ended up proving her right, while Mark's impulsiveness resulted in a setback.

    • The villain in the movie, who had appeared invincible and untouchable throughout the story, was ultimately apprehended and brought to justice, leaving the audience in a fit of laughter at his defeat.

      This example is slightly different from the others, as it describes a situation in which the audience, rather than an individual character, has the last laugh. However, the meaning remains the same - the idiom "had the last laugh" is used to indicate that justice has been served, and the wrongdoer has been defeated, finally allowing for a sense of satisfaction and triumph.

    • Despite Nancy's efforts to sabotage the promotion of her colleague, Emily, the latter eventually succeeded in her career, leaving Nancy to eat her words.

      This final example illustrates how the idiom "had the last laugh" can be used to describe a professional or career-related scenario. It emphasizes that Emily was able to achieve her goal, despite Nancy's attempts to undermine her, thereby proving Emily's abilities and putting Nancy in an awkward position. This idiom suggests that Emily had the final laugh because her success eliminated Nancy's negative comments and proved that Emily was, in fact, deserving of the promotion. In all these examples, the idiom "had the last laugh" is used to depict a situation where the underdog, the skeptic, or the spectator emerges victorious at the expense of the initially confident or successful character. In each case, the idiom highlights the element of surprise, success, and satisfaction that accompanies the eventual triumph.


    The idiom "had the last laugh" is used to convey the idea of ultimately coming out on top or having the final say in a situation. It can be used to express satisfaction in overcoming previous challenges or to assert one's final victory in a dispute or competition.

    Origin of "had the last laugh"

    The origin of the idiom "had the last laugh" can be traced back to its literal meaning. Laughter is often associated with joy and triumph, and having the "last laugh" signifies emerging victorious or having the final say. The idiom likely originated from this literal concept and evolved to be used figuratively to express triumph or satisfaction in various situations. It has become a commonly used phrase to convey the idea of ultimately prevailing or having the final word in a given circumstance.

    One possible origin of the idiom could be traced back to ancient folklore or storytelling traditions, where the concept of having the last laugh was likely used to convey the idea of ultimate victory or triumph. Over time, the idiom has become ingrained in the English language and is used in both casual and formal settings to express the notion of ultimately emerging victorious or having the final say.