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Last laugh

Posted by ESC on January 30, 2001

In Reply to: Laugh posted by R. Berg on January 29, 2001

: : "He who laughs last, laughs the loudest"?

: I've always seen a slightly different version: He who laughs last laughs best.

Both versions are listed in the "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). "HE LAUGHS BEST WHO LAUGHS LAST - Minor setbacks don't matter. The real winner is the one who is ahead at the end of the game. The saying has been traced back to John Heywood's 1546 compilation of proverbs: 'Better the last smile than the first laughter.' The current form has been in common use since 1706 and was used by Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) in his play 'The Country House.' First attested in the United States in 'Cy Whitaker's Place' . The phrase occurs in various forms."