die laughing

Recently I have come across the following sentence in some dictionary book:

  The joke was so funny that I almost [b]died laughing[/b].

Can I use of (and/or from) between the words in bold?


No, but you can say “died of laughter”. “Died from laughing” makes sense, but the accepted form is “died laughing”, except if you literally died from an extended bout of laughter. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_from_laughter

Although these days, 90% of Americans could say “The joke was so funny, I literally died laughing.” and not realize how nonsensical their sentence is.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Foreigner:

  1. I found this sentence in the OXFORD AMERICAN DICTIONARY:

“We were dying with laughter.”

  1. And one of my favorite books says that “He was drowned
    bathing in the river” is a shorter way to say “He was drowned while he was bathing in the river.”

a. So it is only my guess that your sentence may be analyzed as a shorter way to say:

The joke was so funny that I almost died while I was laughing.


Hi james,

I would say that it is more akin to

The joke was so funny that I almost died of the laughter. (I was laughing so much and so hard that I could not catch my breath, which almost caused my death).
Of course, the phrase is idiomatic and not to be taken literally.


  1. He was drowned while he was bathing in the river.
  2. He was drowned while he took bath in the river.
    Please explain the difference in meaning between the two sentences?

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Allifathima:

I personally would not use the passive.

I would simply say:

He drowned while he was bathing in the river.
He drowned while bathing in the river.
He drowned while he was taking a bath in the river.
He drowned while taking a bath in the river.

In the United States, all of those sentences might mean the same – depending on context. That is, “to bathe” usually means “to take a bath.”

I think (THINK) that most Americans do not use the verb “to bathe” to mean “to swim.”

As you know, “to bathe” also includes the idea of “to swim.” So in past days, Americans might refer to “bathing suits.” I think that “swim suit” is more popular today.

Of course, the context would make it clear whether or not “he” in your sentences was swimming or taking a bath.

I am 99.99% sure that no American would say, “I am going to the beach to bathe.” Someone might reply: “Why? Is your shower broken?”

I am sure that our British friends will soon explain the use of the verb “to bathe” in the United Kingdom.


UK more or less agrees with US in this instance, although, that said, the swimming pool is still often known as ‘the baths’.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

How VERY interesting!

I think that I am allowed to add a note if I am VERY careful.

In earlier years, many American homes and apartments did not have bathtubs or showers. So going to “the baths” meant going to the local public bathhouse.

In 2013, however, going to “the baths” could mean:

  1. Going to the few public bathhouses that are left. Some offer saunas.

  2. Going to a gay bathhouse.