Laughter is an almost unique human behavior/trait that is denoted in every language by a verb and its coordinate substantive. Some languages have at least two such verbs, the first being the neutral descriptor and the second describing the action to a higher degree. Thus Russian (Y-H-B’s native language) has the neutral verb smejat’sja but also the verb xoxotat’ ‘laugh uproariously’.
In English we also have a verb of the second type, cachinnate, which is largely unknown to the general speaking public. The two agentive substantives derived therefrom are cachinnator (male) and cachinnatrix (female), neither of which are in general use. They are very handy, nevertheless, as was proved to me this morning when I visited my Saturday Stammlokal for breakfast, The Little Rooster Café, in Manchester Center, Vermont. One of the servers, a woman named Michelle, who cachinnates habitually, did so several times today, and I was moved to say to her, “you’re quite a cachinnatrix!” At which she looked at me dumbfoundedly.

MICHAEL SHAPIRO