Posted by: Jack Henry | March 10, 2020

Editor’s Corner: Cackle

Dear Editor

I learned a new word today: cachinnate. I had to look up how it was pronounced [ kak-uh-neyt ] which makes me wonder if this word is related to “cackle”…or is it more related to the [kak] of “cacophony”…do you know?


Jane G.

Dear Jane,

Let’s first let folks know a little more about your train of thought—it’s a good one. So, the word you learned, cachinnate, means simply to laugh loudly. And the “kak” sound would make me think that you’re definitely on the right path with the word cackle, which means to make a “make a harsh, raucous sound when laughing.” (Today’s definitions and etymologies are brought to you by Google™.)

Then there is cacophony, which means a “harsh discordant mixture of sounds,” which, when compared to the “kak” sound in the other words and the relation to sound, makes it seem like an equally possible relative of cachinnate.

But interestingly, despite the similarities, we find that they are all three from different backgrounds. Here are the etymologies for you:

  • cachinnate

  • cacophony

  • cackle:

Cheers to much cachinnating in your future, with moderate cackling and very little cacophony to hurt your ears.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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