Idioms for ‘happy’ can help us express our feelings in English, beyond simple adjectives of emotion.
But the meaning of happiness idioms is not always obvious when you read or hear them. That’s because idioms are phrases which cannot be taken literally; you must learn the meaning of each one rather than being able to deduce it from the individual words.
So, here are some idioms which we use in English to talk about happiness, joy, pleasure, contentment and enjoyment. We’ve also included some ‘as happy as’ sayings at the end,
Idioms about happiness
Walking on air
When you are walking on air, you are so happy you feel like you are floating. Nothing is weighing you down.
“I have been walking on air ever since my partner proposed to me.”
“You look like you’re walking on air. What’s the good news?”
Note that this idiom for happy is always used with the present participle walking. We wouldn’t say “He walked on air” or “I walk on air”.
We could also say dancing on air, which is covered in our dance idioms.
On cloud nine
With a similar meaning, on cloud nine means blissfully happy. You could imagine yourself sitting on a cloud, or even in heaven.
“I just gave my son a new toy car and he’s on cloud nine.”
A happy bunny is someone who is really happy or content.
This idiom about happiness is often used in a negative sense, but only in situations which are not too serious.
“Charlotte just spilt red wine down her new white dress. She is not a happy bunny.”
It would not be appropriate to say that someone is ‘not a happy bunny’ if their relative has just died, for example. There are some death idioms which are more appropriate for this situation.
The idiom happy camper is similar to happy bunny, and it can be used in either a positive or a negative sense.
“Give me sand and a sunset and I’m a happy camper.”
“I have only had this phone for 2 months and I just smashed the screen. I am not a happy camper.”
Again, you shouldn’t use this in a very serious or somber situation. These sad idioms may be more suitable when you need to describe a real state of sadness or upset.
In your element
When you are in your element you are having a great time and really enjoying whatever is happening.
“The kids were in their element at the water park.”
To be tickled pink is to be pleased or amused by something, but it describes a short-lived feeling of happiness.
“My father was tickled pink by the birthday present I gave him.”
This is just one of the many ways we can use colors to describe people!
Have a ball
To have a ball is to have a great time and experience enjoyment or happiness.
“We had a ball at the Christmas party last night.”
“I hope everyone is going to have a ball when we go ice skating.”
You can also say ‘Have a ball!’ to tell someone you hope they will have a good time, wherever they are going. If you are visiting a Christmas party, these festive idioms might come in handy. Or, you might want some more general idioms about parties.
Not a care in the world
We say that someone has not a care in the world when they are completely content and happy.
“When my mother starts baking she has not a care in the world.”
You can also use without a care in the world as an adverb phrase to describe the way in which someone does something.
Have a whale of a time
If you’re having a whale of a time, you’re really enjoying yourself.
“I wish our holiday wasn’t over; we’ve had such a whale of a time.”
“I hope you have a whale of a time at your graduation ball!”
This could be a good idiom to describe happy times spent with friends – check out some more friendship idioms here.
Have the time of your life
If you’re having the time of your life, you’re having a wonderful time.
“I had the time of my life at the party last night!”
“It sounds like Sue and Rick are having the time of their lives on honeymoon”
As indicated in the examples, both have a whale of a time and have the time of your life can be used to talk about the future, the present, or the past.
On top of the world
Feeling on top of the world means that you’re feeling wonderful, delighted or ecstatic.
“He was on top of the world for days after winning the tournament.”
Music to your ears
Something that is music to your ears is something that you’re pleased to hear about.
“Hearing that the council is building a new playground was music to my ears.”
Discover some more musical idioms here.
Over the moon
Similarly, being over the moon means being extremely pleased and happy.
“I’m over the moon that I’ve been given a promotion at work.”
Pleased as punch
The happy idiom pleased as punch refers to the character Punch from “Punch and Judy” puppet shows, who never stops smiling with his painted-on grin. Although Punch is a name, it is not necessary to use a capital letter in this expression. Again, this is used to describe a strong happiness.
“Your parents will be pleased as punch to hear that you’re planning to visit them.”
We wouldn’t say ‘happy as punch’ though; it doesn’t have quite the same effect without the alliteration.
Grinning from ear to ear
Someone who is smiling or grinning from ear to ear is displaying a really big smile because they’re so happy.
“What’s happened to Amelia? She’s been grinning from ear to ear since she arrived this morning.”
Check out some more idioms with parts of the body.
‘As happy as’ idioms
These as happy as sayings are technically similes – since they liken one thing to another.
All of these simply mean extremely happy or delighted:
- As happy as Larry (mainly British English)
- As happy as a clam (at high tide) (mainly American English)
- As happy as a pig in mud/muck
- As happy as a lark
- As happy as the day is long
- As happy as can be
You can use any of these ‘as happy as’ idioms with or without the initial ‘As’:
“Elizabeth has been happy as Larry since she passed her driving test.”
“Julien and Lucas are playing together, as happy as can be.”
So, now you are familiar with some of the most common idioms about happiness that we use in English. There are lots of other funny idioms that might make you smile.
Do you know any other idioms for ‘happy’? Why not leave a comment below to share them?
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