I’m a large real-life laugher, and also in current years, in e-mails, chats, and also texts, I’ve come to be a large “haha”-er. You say something hilarious, I’ll write a few “ha”s. That’s just how I e-laugh. I realize that this isn’t specifically dignified. My “haha”s make me look the method I carry out in party photos: open-mouthed, loud, a tiny vulgar. Writing “hahaha” renders you look deranged, however, then aacquire, so does laughing. I’ve accepted this state of affairs, and also my friends have actually, as well, for the many part. I prefer a good-belief representation of just how a lot laughing we’re doing and just how tough we’re doing it. Several of my friends are above it—they don’t “ha” a lot or at all, which makes me self-aware. They accept an amutilizing back-and-forth as a normal course of occasions and also press on hilariously, without most ha-ha goofery. I can’t carry out that. Even among those regal beagles, I have to laugh amethod.

You are watching: [s] ha ha ha! he he he! ho ho ho!

The terms of e-laughter—“ha ha,” “ho ho,” “hee hee,” “heh”—are implicitly taken by simply about everybody. But, in current years, there’s been an increasingly popular newcomer: “hehe.” Not surprisingly, it’s being foisted upon us by youth. What does it mean?

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. The fundamental unit of created laughter, which we’ve lengthy well-known from publications and comics, is “ha.” The “ha” is like a Lego, a structure block, with which we have the right to construct even more elaborate hilarity. It sounds like a genuine laugh. Ha! The “ha” is transparent, choose “said.” If you’re chatting or texting, a single “ha” implies that a joke has arisen, and also you’re respecttotally tipping your hat to it, but that’s all it deserves. If I say somepoint hilarious and also I acquire one “ha,” it’s a actual kick in the teeth. If I make a mild monitoring, a “ha” is just excellent.

The feel-good traditional in chat laughter is the basic, classic “haha”: a respectful laugh. “Haha” suggests you’re genuinely amoffered, and also that perhaps you laughed a little in genuine life. (The singsong Nelson Muntz-style “ha ha,” of course, is completely different—we don’t perform this to our friends. There’s likewise the sarcastic “ha ha,” a British colleague reminded me: he’s provided to analysis “ha ha” as “Oh, ha ha,” as in, Aren’t you a wag. “But I’m finding out to check out it as good,” he sassist. Poor male.) “Hahaha” suggests that you’re really amused: now you’re food preparation. More than 3 “ha”s are wright here joy takes trip. When you’re doing this, you’re laughing at your desk and your co-workers have the right to hear you, or you’re texting via both hands, cdoing not have and also laughing away. Somebody has actually been naughty and also fun: a scandalous remark, a zinger, a gut laugh, the high-grade stuff. If points obtain entirely bananas, you can throw a few “j”s in tright here, because you’re as well incapacitated by joy to type appropriately.

I tend to put spaces between my “ha”s, yet, if I’m laughing and also typing like a residence afire, I leave them out. If I’m about to lose my marbles, I’ll use all caps, maybe an exclamation point, but at that point exclamation points are mostly superfluous. My phone has actually a “haha” autocorrect that turns a fairly excellent laugh right into a deranged mess—an insystematic hahhhahaahahhh or a crazy HAHAHAHAHA—and also if I hit send before recording it, I sfinish a retraction. You should be judicious via your all-caps—hoswarm around how violently you’re laughing and also just how sane you are.

There are various other terms in the lexicon. “Heh” is for a type of satisfyingly good suggest, a nice moment shared, via a feasible hint of down-house vulgarity. “Ho ho” suggests that someone demands a mild scolding after a negative joke, as once a frifinish mentioned “the Genesis stuff” and also I, understanding that he intended Noah’s ark, typed somepoint about Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. That was beneath me, and also I deoffered “ho ho,” or worse. (My friend that often offers a single “ha,” a “heh,” or a “ho ho” is likewise my frifinish that is many reluctant to high five. If you acquire a high 5 or a “ha ha” out of him, it’s a red-letter day. If he ever composed “hahaha,” I’d take him to the emergency room.) “Hee hee” is cute and also conspiratorial. Hee hee, we’re gossiping in the corner! Hee hee, he texted me! Hee hee, isn’t life grand! It’s comparable to “tee hee,” which is extremely cute. Possibly too cute. If you’re saying “tee hee,” you’re in love, beauticompletely giddy, or as much as no excellent. You might should take it dvery own a notch.


Then there’s the mysterious “hehe.” “Hehe” is a younger person’s e-laugh. My stepsister has actually supplied it, and also she’s a perchild that additionally claims “hiiii”—yet, reassuringly to me, she’s likewise among the ideal hahahahaha-ers in the business. A frifinish who’s in his thirties and also savvy, with friends of all ages, uses “hehe.” I find it charming—he’s a perfect speller, and also he’s a lively, tidy writer, and his “hehe”s are a stvariety mystery. I recognize what they mean: friendly, rather sneaky giggling at a mutual joke. But why the single “e”?


First, I asked human being my age and also older. (I’m forty-2.) A TV writer said, “ ‘Hehehe’ reminds me of Scooby-Doo. Unless it’s ‘heh’ as in ‘hepatitis’?” Good point: Scooby’s laugh is a sneaky, musical series of “hee-hee”s. And he’s no speller. (I don’t think it’s heh as in “hepatitis.”) A writer and professor visiting the office shelp that his students use it, perplexing him. He imagines it sounding choose a lofty “Hee-hee-hee!,” which, as he pronounced it, was an airy la-di-da sound that evoked brandy snifters and also drollery. He, as well, has to remind himself to review it as traditional giggling.

Then, the nitty-gritty: the hehe-ers themselves. One user said that she believed of “hehe” as “more of an evil giggle and much less of a straightforward crack-up.” That’s absolutely a hee-hee. Her friend thinks of it as “an extra surprise laugh” and also pronounces it “heh heh,” and also shelp that it have the right to be “evil or private and mutual.” Was it choose “hee hee” and “heh heh” smaburned together? I asked. Yes, it was, she said. An adventurous writer in his mid-thirties agreed that it was a mischievous laugh, pronounced “heh heh,” and shelp that he supplies it to indicate that he’s being “super-casual,” and as a “kind of knot to tie off a back-and-forth exchange.” If he senses that there’s a “small amount of awkwardness” in the exreadjust, he supplies “hehehe” to dissolve it or to inoculate both parties against it. He waved his hands approximately while describing this, and I imagined a baker using frosting to cover imperfections in a cake.

My savvy frifinish whose use of “hehe” provoked all these questions shelp that “hehe” is just one of his favorite words. He pronounces it “heh heh,” to indicate mild amusement “without having actually to resort to emoticons, LOLs, or ROTFLs.” He said that “haha” suggests “more significant amusement,” and adds additional “ha”s for “even more severe mirth.” He created, “Tbelow is no such thing as “hehehe” in my vocab, though.” Noted.

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Anvarious other young “hehe”-er thinks that it’s “hee-hee,” doesn’t recognize wbelow he picked it up, and also enjoys that it helps him protect against older terms choose “hahaha” and also “LOL.” “Have to keep things updated,” he wrote me in a chat.

That’s just what I’d suspected and feared: while I’m ha-ha-ing my method right into middle age, younger civilization have actually coined a new laugh. Good for them. They’re “heh-heh”ing to professors that hear “hee-hee”ing; they’re being conspiratorial via fortysomethings confused by the regards to the conspiracy. I’m just glad we’re all having a great time. If you’ll excusage me, I’m off to watch “Hee Haw.”