Is there anything more subtle or less obvious? I don't mind if it's equivocal.

closed as too broad by Jason Bassford, ColleenV Jan 21 at 12:13

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    In what context would you be writing this? The setting matters. Are you writing a script? A novel? An internet forum post? An academic paper on evil geniuses? – Richard Winters Jan 21 at 0:09
  • I just want a list of options. I am just curious about it. – repomonster Jan 21 at 1:01
  • Subtlety and evil laughter are rarely, if ever, found together. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 21 at 12:25

In general, actually using any onomatopoeia to indicate the evil laugh will be particularly blunt and unsubtle. There are many such onomatopoeias, as Robert W linked here. None of these are subtle. The subtle way to indicate this kind of interjection is to use description and prose.

As such, it is better to simply state that the person is making an evil laugh outside of the quotation marks, as follows:

"And then," he said, adding an evil laugh, "I will shoot him in the head!"

When using a script format, such as for a screenplay or theater production, you wouldn't write out the evil laugh as "mwahaha", you would instead include a stage direction for the actor to come up with an appropriate evil laugh. Homer Simpson's famous "d'oh!" line is listed in the script as "annoyed grunt" after all.

In reflection of this, when writing informally on the internet, or a chat room, or on social media, simply writing

evil laugh


maniacal laughter

would be the appropriate way to go. Where italics are not available on your platform, surround this text with asterisks (*) or use the word "insert", perhaps with a parenthetical, as in:

*evil laugh*


I will destroy you!!!! (insert evil laugh here)

  • aside adding what other verbs would you use in "adding an evil laugh"? – repomonster Jan 21 at 1:23
  • Try "chuckled grimly", or "howled with delight", or "guffawed darkly", or "snickered in a chilling manner"... or a different combination of these sorts of thing. A thesaurus may serve you well. – Richard Winters Jan 21 at 1:46

I'd add "Ahahahaha!". Used particularly well in Thriller. Also "Heh heh heh...".

The effectiveness of onomatopoeia for evil laughs is largely dependent on the delivery. Actors in evil roles can do these kinds of laughs in movies, but in everyday conversation, even a high-quality attempt would garner (ridiculing) laughter from anyone overhearing it.

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