"a sly, suppressed laugh," 1754, from chuckle (v.).
1590s, "to laugh loudly," frequentative of Middle English chukken "make a clucking noise" (late 14c.), of imitative origin. Meaning shifted to "laugh in a suppressed or covert way, express inward satisfaction by subdued laughter" by 1803. Related: Chuckled; chuckling.
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