Definition of happy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhapē/

adjective (happier, happiest)

1Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment: Melissa came in looking happy and excited [with clause]: we’re just happy that he’s still alive [with infinitive]: they are happy to see me doing well
More example sentences
  • Surely you can't have more than one quiet, smiling, happy and contented day in a row?
  • If my observation serves me right, old folks are generally happy and contented with the way they spend their free time.
  • The feel of the warm moist soil around my roots as they got stronger and ever deeper into the ground made me feel happy and contented.
cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning, in good spirits, in a good mood, lighthearted, pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, beatific;
thrilled, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic, blissful, euphoric, overjoyed, exultant, rapturous, in seventh heaven, on cloud nine, walking on air, jumping for joy, jubilant
informal chirpy, over the moon, on top of the world, tickled pink, on a high, as happy as a clam
formal jocund
1.1 [predicative] (happy about) Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation): I was never very happy about the explanation I can’t say they looked too happy about it, but a deal’s a deal
More example sentences
  • He is happy about the arrangement and believes it will help him adjust to life in the community.
  • Pitch doesn't look very happy about the situation, but he doesn't push Milon aside to get to me.
  • The person who has or who shows such inclination in his or her youth should be proud and happy about it.
1.2 [predicative] (happy with) Satisfied with the quality or standard of: I’m happy with his performance
More example sentences
  • Are you happy with the quality of the policy file that you have seen from Operation Helios?
  • So I am not happy with the size of the squad, but I am certainly happy with the quality of it.
  • I cannot be happy with my performance because the team as a whole hasn't had results.
1.3 [with infinitive] Willing to do something: we will be happy to advise you
More example sentences
  • Mayo Cat Rescue is happy to advise people on many aspects of cat care, so please phone us for help should you need it.
  • Local Citizens' Advice Bureaux will also be more than happy to advise and help fill in any paperwork at no cost.
  • Mr Walker said he would be happy to advise anybody about the way Ryesport was set up and the benefits it brought.
glad, pleased, delighted;
willing, ready, disposed
1.4(Of an event or situation) characterized by happiness: we had a very happy, relaxed time
More example sentences
  • In the event of this extremely happy situation, the policy pays the player as well!
  • There was no way I was going to escape from this situation with a happy ending.
  • The Beijing Morning Post front page above has a photo of the event's happy ending.
1.5 [attributive] Used in greetings: happy birthday
More example sentences
  • A happy birthday is wished to Kieran Dunne from his many friends.
  • Finally seasons greetings and a happy New Year to all who have supported this work.
  • Michelle squealed a happy greeting and rushed forward to enfold him in a hug.
2 [attributive] Fortunate and convenient: he had the happy knack of making people like him
More example sentences
  • For opportunities appear, at first glance, to have a happy knack of falling into the lap of the third season trainer.
  • She has the happy knack of making the most mundane report appear interesting.
  • The range in the city is broader than in most places, and the locals seem to have a happy knack with fish dishes particularly.
3 [in combination] informal Inclined to use a specified thing excessively or at random: our litigation-happy society



(as) happy as a clam (at high tide)

Extremely happy.
Example sentences
  • I've always said if I could get the child of an alcoholic to work for me as an employee, I'm happy as a clam because you're going to get a devoted and hardworking person.
  • Tonight I wanted to write about the mom from preschool who gave birth and then just bounced right back into life and seems happy as a clam.
  • Now, nearly ten months after I received my acceptance, I am happy as a clam.

happy hunting ground

A place where success or enjoyment is obtained.
Originally referring to the optimistic hope of American Indians for good hunting grounds in the afterlife
Example sentences
  • Thirsk proved a happy hunting ground for City of York VI as they beat the home side's second string 4-1.
  • South Yorkshire proved to be a happy hunting ground for Heworth's Neil Smith as he landed one of the county's major prizes.
  • Mrs. Gay Cross made the presentation to winner owner Pat Daly who must have been delighted that he made the long journey from Cork to Newbridge which is proving such a happy hunting ground for him.


Middle English (in the sense 'lucky'): from the noun hap1 + -y1.

  • Before the 14th century you could be glad but not happy. The word is from hap ‘fortune, chance’, which entered English a century or more earlier and which is no longer used in everyday English, except in hapless (Late Middle English) meaning ‘unfortunate’, its development happen (Late Middle English) and perhaps. To be happy was at first to be favoured by fortune—but came to refer to feelings of pleasure in the early 16th century. Happy as a sandboy is said because sandboys (who would have been grown men as well as boys) were ‘happy’ or ‘jolly’ because they were habitually drunk. A dictionary of slang terms published in 1823 explains that jolly as a sandboy referred to ‘a merry fellow who has tasted a drop’. This is reflected in a pub in Charles Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop, published in 1840: ‘The Jolly Sandboys was a small road-side inn…with a sign, representing three Sandboys increasing their jollity.’ Sandboys sold sand for use in building, for household chores such as cleaning pots and pans, and to spread on floors to soak up spillages, especially in pubs. In Australia you can also be as happy as Larry, which may be connected with the renowned 19th-century boxer Larry Foley, or owe something to larry (late 19th century), a dialect word meaning ‘a state of excitement’ that appears in the novels of Thomas Hardy. A North American equivalent is as happy as a clam or as happy as a clam at high water: when the tide is high, the clams are covered by seawater and are able to feed to their hearts' content.

Words that rhyme with happy

crappie, flappy, gappy, happi, nappy, pappy, sappy, scrappy, slap-happy, snappy, strappy, tapis, yappy, zappy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hap·py

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