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To laugh in the sleeve

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • To laugh in the sleeve to laugh privately or unperceived, especially while apparently preserving a grave or serious demeanor toward the person or persons laughed at; that is, perhaps, originally, by hiding the face in the wide sleeves of former times.
    • To laugh in the sleeve to laugh secretly, or so as not to be observed, especially while apparently preserving a grave or serious demeanor toward the person or persons laughed at.
    • ***

Usage

In literature:

There's Daly laughing in his sleeve at you, and talking to Venia about Waterloo and the Crimea as though he'd been there.
"Odd Craft, Complete" by W.W. Jacobs
But he laughed in his sleeve at the idea of the necessity of making love to her.
"The Firing Line" by Robert W. Chambers
I laughed in my sleeve, but not the less did I rage and storm when Jules l'Echelle came with the Colonel to release me.
"The Passenger from Calais" by Arthur Griffiths
I've seen it often and laughed in my sleeve at the chance it gives me to observe on the sly how things are going on at certain benches.
"The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow" by Anna Katharine Green
He had been laughing in his sleeve all the time he had pretended to help!
"Big Game" by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
The scoundrel is laughing in his sleeve at us because we're taking him and his men at our expense to the treasure.
"The Pirate of Panama" by William MacLeod Raine
And you listened to me with a face like brass, laughing in your sleeve, no doubt, at the fool who betrayed himself.
"The Hill" by Horace Annesley Vachell
I used to laugh in my sleeve at the surprise I meant to give Daisy when I walked in rich some day.
"How It All Came Round" by L. T. Meade
I had to laugh in my sleeve as I suspected the same remarks may have been passed on us after our departure!
"Working With the Working Woman" by Cornelia Stratton Parker
The quarrel came to an end, and the feast ended pleasantly; but Ate, who had been watching and listening, laughed in her sleeve.
"Children's Literature" by Charles Madison Curry
To outwit the Jewry would be the bitterest revenge, to pay lip-service to its ideals and laugh at it in his sleeve.
"Dreamers of the Ghetto" by I. Zangwill
Laughing in his sleeve, the wheelwright of Coq returned to his work.
"Devil Stories" by Various
Do you want the Count to laugh in his sleeve?
"Honor: A Play in Four Acts" by Hermann Sudermann
All the people cheered the shepherd, while the shepherd himself laughed in his sleeve to think that he had taken in the devil so easily.
"Twenty-Four Unusual Stories for Boys and Girls" by Anna Cogswell Tyler
The gentleman laughed in his sleeve to think how he would find him out, seeing he had not asked, nor himself told him, where he lived.
"Amusing Prose Chap Books" by Various
We were not to know the officer was, figuratively speaking, laughing in his sleeve at us.
"Wild Life in the Land of the Giants" by Gordon Stables
***

In poetry:

Who's the culprit of them? How must he conceive
God—-the queen he caps to, laughing in his sleeve,
`` 'Tis but decent to profess oneself beneath her:
``Still, one must not be too much in earnest, either!''
"Before" by Robert Browning