Wackorism: He who laughs last … didn’t get the joke!
Aphorism: He who laughs last … laughs best.
Origin: We discovered that there is some debate about whether the phrase is “… laughs best” or “… laughs longest.” There are roughly equal references online to each of them, so we are using “best,” as we believe this one expresses the intended lesson. We found two possible origins for this phrase. The first is a play called “The Christmas Prince,” which was written and performed around 1608 in Tudor England. The play is believed to have been written by the founder of Oxford University, Sir Thomas White. The actual lines are: “Laugh on, laugh on my friend / Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end.” The second possibility is a saying by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche (1844-1900): “Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am besten,” which translates literally to “He who laughs best today, will also laugh last.” Take your pick!
Meaning: In an ongoing contest of wills or wits, whoever is the ultimate winner laughs last, and therefore, best.