He who laughs last, laughs best
He who laughs last, laughs best or He who laughs last, laughs longest/hardest/loudest are English sayings used in situations when certain people may seem to hold an advantage at a given point or seem to have things under control but might actually end up losing in the end. They’re also related to another expression: to have the last laugh. The person who laughs at the end, or has the last laugh is usually the underdog, the person who seemed to be losing right before the end or who, at the beginning, seemed to have the least chance of winning. When this person turns out to be successful or come in first in a situation then we can say that he had the last laugh.
The expression was first used in a play called The Christmas Prince in 1608:
Laugh on laugh on my friend
Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end
This proverb encourages us to be patient enough to see something through to the end, because even if we may seem to be losing at the beginning, things could eventually change in our favour. Even if we might not seem successful now, we could be the winners in the end, we just need to persevere. At the same time, it also warns us that there is no point in getting ahead of ourselves and celebrating something that is not already a done deal. And we should especially resist laughing at whoever seems to be losing or rubbing our possible victory in their face. The ending might be surprising and things could turn around. The real winner will only be known after the fact and they could be the ones laughing at us in the end. At that point they could also say to us that revenge is sweet or that revenge is a dish best served cold.
Let’s take the following example:
Tom: The other team seemed to be winning so they started celebrating the victory.
Ellen: They celebrated too soon as they lost in the end, and we won. He who laughs last, laughs best.
What about you? Have you ever been in a situation where you had the last laugh?