- Something ridiculous which can be laughed upon.
- It is something that is exceedingly funny to a point of becoming embarrassing.
- After the event and how he behaved there, he was the laughing stock in school for days to come.
- The host made a mistake in saying out the name of the winner and instantly became a laughing stock for everyone.
- The media nowadays tries to make a sensation out of everything. It is a laughing stock for some who understand how journalism should really be.
The phrase began as two words but is now used as a single hyphenated word too. It is an old phrase with two citations in the year 1533. First was in John Frith’s ‘An other boke against Rastel’ and the second use was in ‘An apologie for poetrie” by Sir Philip Sidney.
The origination of the phrase comes from a punishment that was meted out to people whose crimes were not severe. They would be trapped in ‘stocks’ or sliding boards so that they could be publicly ridiculed. The punishment was serious even if it wasn’t severe. The ‘stock’ in the phrase could also refer to stumps or a butt which makes the phrase ‘butt of the joke’.