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From Middle English happy (fortunate, happy), perhaps an alteration of Middle English happyn, happen (fortunate, happy), from Old Norse heppinn (fortunate, happy); assimilated to be equivalent to hap (chance, luck, fortune) +‎ -y. Compare also Icelandic heppinn (happy, lucky), Scots happin (fortunate, blessed). More at hap.



happy (comparative happier, superlative happiest)

  1. Experiencing the effect of favourable fortune; having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being or of enjoyment; enjoying good of any kind, as peace, tranquillity, comfort; contented; joyous.
    • 1769, Oxford Standard text, Bible (King James), Psalms, 144, xv,
      Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
    • 1777, Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man in Four Epistles: Argument of Epistle II, in The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Esq, Volume III, page 26,
      The learn'd is happy nature to explore, / The fool is happy that he knows no more ;
    Music makes me feel happy.
  2. Favored by luck or fortune; lucky.
    • 1661, Robert Boyle, The Sceptical Chymist, 2006, Elibron Classics (imprint), page 227,
      [] I may presume that what I have hitherto discoursed will induce you to think, that chymists have been much more happy in finding experiments than the causes of them; or in assigning the principles by which they may best be explained.
  3. Dexterous; ready; apt; felicitous.
    • 1761, Jonathan Swift, A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation: Introduction, in The works of Dr Jonathan Swift, Volume VII, page 246,
      For instance, one lady can give an anſwer better than aſk a queſtion : one gentleman is happy at a reply ; another excels in a rejoinder : one can revive a languiſhing converſation by a ſudden ſurpriſing ſentence ; [] .
  4. Content, satisfied (with or to do something); having no objection (to something).
    Are you happy to pay me back by the end of the week?
    Are you happy with your internet service provider?
  5. (As a suffix to a noun) favouring or inclined to use, as in trigger-happy.
    • 2012 August 21, Jason Heller, “The Darkness: Hot Cakes (Music Review)”, The Onion AV Club:
      “Baby, I was a loser / Several years on the dole / An Englishman with a very high voice / Doing rock ’n’ roll,” sings falsetto-happy frontman Justin Hawkins at the start of “Every Inch Of You,” Hot Cakes’ opener.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (favored by hap, luck or fortune): Said of expedients, efforts, ventures, omens, etc.
  • (experiencing the effect of favorable fortune): Said of people, hours, thoughts, times, etc.


See Wikisaurus:happy


Derived terms[edit]


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