happy camper

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The Dictionary of American Slang suspects the phrase to have originated among California movie and show-business people and suspects the reference is to child clients of summer camps.[1]


happy camper (plural happy campers)

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see happy camper.
  2. (chiefly US, informal) One who is thoroughly content or satisfied.
    I will be a happy camper when they fix the potholes on my commute.
    • 1989 April 26, Shirley Marlow, “Quayle Visits Samoa, Decides He'll Give It a Break”, in Los Angeles Times[1]:
      “You all look like happy campers to me,” Dan Quayle to the people of American Samoa.
    • 1997, Roz Denny Fox, Sweet Tibby Mack[2], page 132:
      "Call, but you can't fight union regulations" / "You're probably right. Still, their boss needs to know I'm not a happy camper."
    • 2008, Deepa Kumar, quoting Ron Carey, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike, Appendix, page 194:
      I had kept telling people that this company would be looking for a victim to pay for this. They would not let it go. And it wasn't just them—look at all the Mob guys I threw out of the union. They weren't happy campers.
    Synonym: happy bunny


  1. ^ happy camper” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present, retrieved June 26, 2015.