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agelast (AJ-uh-last) noun

Someone who never laughs.

[From Greek agelastos (not laughing), ultimately from gelaein (to laugh).]

The opposite of an agelast is an abderian person, one given to excessive or incessant laughter.

"Between the obscene, crude buffoon of the old comedy and the boor, the dour agelast who takes offense at everything ..."
Giuseppe Mazzotta; Playboys and Killjoys; Shakespeare Quarterly (Washington, DC); Autumn 1988.

"An hour of stand-up which the audience absolutely loves. I don't spot a single agelast."
Deborah Ross; Interview: Sandi Toksvig - I'm Sorry; I Haven't a Hairdo; Independent (London), Jul 16, 2001.

From the most noble soul to the most dastardly individual, we all share traits that span the spectrum. It would be rare to find a person who can be completely characterized by a single word. This week's AWAD discusses words to help us describe people we come across in our life. Can you see the face of a friend, relative, or co-worker in these assorted arrangements of the alphabet?


You can sometimes count every orange on a tree but never all the trees in a single orange. -A.K. Ramanujan, poet (1929-1993)

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