In Stitches

Used as and English idiom since the 1930’s with origins in Shakespeare and Old English.

Meaning of ‘In Stitches’ Idiom

To be in stitches means to laugh uncontrollably; to be extremely amused.

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Examples Of Use

“The comedian was terrible but the heckler had us in stitches.

“She seems very serious but after a few drinks she’ll have you in stitches.”


The word stitch referring to a sudden sharp pain was used in Old English and today it is used exclusively to mean a sharp pain in the side (i.e. stitch in the side) caused by a muscle spasm and generally brought on by exertion. Shakespeare seems to have been the first to use a form of the idiom in Twelfth Knight from 1601:

“If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me.”

He was referring to laughing so hard you got a stitch from the exertion, which is what the idiom alluded to originally. The modern version wasn’t used until around 1930.

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