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Happy Idioms - Figurative Language

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Idioms are phrases or figures of speech. An idiom is a form of figurative language that stands for something else. It is an expression. Idioms are especially difficult for foreigners of any language. Idioms are not necessarily predictable in their use or context. Context clues are not easily identifiable when determining meaning. Idioms can vary within social classes, generations and region. Here is a list of happy idioms in the English language...

Happy Idioms

  1. in seventh heaven
  2. on cloud nine
  3. walking on air
  4. jumping for joy
  5. over the moon
  6. on top of the world
  7. happy camper
  8. chirpy
  9. happy is the bride the sun shines on
  10. happy go lucky
  11. pleased as punch
  12. thrilled to pieces
  13. proud as a peacock
  14. happy as a lark
  15. high on the hog
  16. it's in the bag
  17. fair to middling
  18. tickled pink
  19. on a high
  20. as happy as a clam
  21. happy as larry

Idiom Blogs...

The English Blog - This is an interesting blog which offer tips and trivia for both learners and teachers alike. The link will take you through a series of political and social cartoons with idioms. The idioms are explained as well.

Business English Expressions, Idioms and Buzzwords This blog provides various post on the use of expressive language in the business world. Includes typical jargon and cooler talk.

Grammarphobia.com This link will take you to a brief discussion as to whether an idioms can be determined with context clues. This is a particularly interesting blog. It features topics on reading, writing as well as reviews of practical resources.

Here is a suggestion for ESL students that are learning idioms...

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Comments 47 comments

Husky1970 5 years ago

Never thought of it before, missolive, but these idioms must be extremely confusing to someone new to our language.

Voted up and interesting.


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

Husky1970 - you are right they do find them confusing. I have a mixed population of ESL students in my class. I have found that if I teach idioms TOGETHER with tone and mood it seems to be a bit easier.

Thank you for stopping by and the vote up


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, I love tickled pink! lol I do use them sometimes, like for example, a really old one, 'happy as larry'! I have no idea where that came from! and a few others that I can't remember now! lol voted up!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

Hi Nell! Thank you for stopping by! Aren't idioms fun? I do remember hearing "happy as Larry" I went ahead and added it #21! I did another hub today on angry idioms - that has over 50.

Thanks for the vote up :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Many good comedy sketches evolve around outsider misunderstanding these kinds of phrases.


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

dahoglund - your are right, I can imagine some funny sketches. They were also used quite a bit in the variety shows of the 60's and 70's, at least from what I can recall ;)


TTC12 profile image

TTC12 5 years ago

I never got why a clam would be so happy. Nor happy camper. Last time I camped out it was freezing.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Miss Olive! I absolutely love this. What I find amazing is that many people use these each day without knowing what they mean (and that they are idioms)! LOL

Great, just great!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

TTC12 - I agree on the clams - what a BORING life! lol As for happy camper - wasn't there some sort of saying in the 70's - he's campy or that's campy? And it referred to the psychedelic hippie age? I know I read that somewhere, but not sure. Anyone?

Dex! You made it! :) You are right - many people use idioms on a regular basis. I use them quite a bit and my ESL students give quite the bewildered stare. I can't imagine learning idioms from other regions.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States

Fun, fun, fun! What a great idea for a hub. You made my face light up!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

The Dirt Farmer - This make me HAPPY! Glad to hear you enjoyed it :)


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Isn't it a shame that it is easier to think of more angry one's than happy!

I can't think of any other emotion except maybe contented, but, how about, snug as a bug in a rug. Sounds happy to me. or, smiling so big my face might crack. That may not be an idiom though.

This was a really fun hub!


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

I thought of another one, busting at the seams!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

homesteadbound - you read my mind - there are MANY more angry idioms than happy ones. However, there are even fewer sad idioms. I love the ones you suggested. Thank you for following. It is greatly appreciated.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...this made me smile and realized something to change my mood.. ^_^...thanks! ^_^


TheListLady profile image

TheListLady 5 years ago from New York City

Love idioms. When I was teaching English in S. Korea, the teachers wanted to know idioms for themselves because they said it was all so confusing. So together with 2 Korean teachers who were bilingual with English - the three of us acted out the idioms. We all had so much fun.

Nice to meet you by the way - I'm tickled pink. Yay! And rated up.


Leandra Martinique 5 years ago

I feel like a bubble in the coctail of life!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

pinkhawk - glad you smiled! I am tickled pink that this was a mood changer! ;)

TheListLady - Idioms in a foreign country - interesting task! Sounds like you really made it fun for them. Acting out idioms really sounds fun! Nice to meet you too! :)

Leandra - don't pop your bubble!


Benton Smith 5 years ago

"Your brains'll fall out!" - Soupy Sales. (A description of what will happen due to extraordinary happiness.)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

I have never heard most of these or haven't heard them in a long time. I still enjoy hearing "tickled pink" :))


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 5 years ago from USA

Figure this one out: cottin pickin


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

Linda Smith - "Cotton Pickin'" is certainly not a Happy Idiom. In fact it can be considered racist by some. It is usually used to display anger. History has it that this phrase was coined by plantation slave owners and was used against the cotton picking slaves.

It was however, a common phrase used by Yosemite Sam on Looney Tunes


Mezo profile image

Mezo 5 years ago from Egypt

Great hub :) thanks a lot. Your hubs are very useful.


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

I love the idioms in the English language, and use them quite frequently. However, since English is my second language, I have never heard of "fair to middling" How do I use that in a sentence?

Great hub! Voted up and if there was a "thrilled to pieces" button, I would have pushed that one, lol!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Marisa, you made me feel like I was in school again.Yes, idioms are a part and parcel of the English language and make the writing or speech more colourful.

Most of these are the same in British English except for some being exclusive to American English, I believe.

A great hub and voted up.


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

Mezo - glad to share these with you

Sannel - Idioms are fun and as a teacher I like to challenge myself to use them often. As for the idiom fair to middling - it is a common response to the question...

How are you doing today? Oh, I'm fair to middlin'

It can be interpreted as saying - I'm doing ok.

Rajan - thank you for your votes! Always glad to see you!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

missolive - thanks for enlighten me!

I don't think I have ever heard that idiom before.

Thank you again for this fun hub and I hope you are doing fine today?

I'm fair to middlin' myself, thank you!


missolive profile image

missolive 5 years ago from Texas Author

Sannel - hehe

I can almost actually hear you say that. :)

I'm pleased as punch that you came back for a visit.


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 4 years ago from Lone Star State

Great Hub MissOlive... I had never really considered how confusing an idiom is to foreigners. I considered it must me very confusing to small children, whom are just becoming familiar with the english language...but this was great! Awesome and Interesting! Thanks for Sharing!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

H.C Porter - My ESL students have a really hard time with these. The thing with idioms is they do not always offer a context clue. I try to use them often - they are kind of fun.

Glad to see you have stopped by to read and comment.


favouriteperfume profile image

favouriteperfume 4 years ago from Malvern, UK

Great hub, Miss Olive. When I'm teaching English, I love to ask the students if they have a version of the idiom in their own language and they usually do.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

what a wonderful idea favouriteperfume! I like that. Thank you for sharing.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

What a great collection of "happy" idioms! I use "happy camper" all the time! Not sure why... :) This made me smile! Voted up, awesome and sharing! Have a HAPPY day!


Lyn.Stewart profile image

Lyn.Stewart 4 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

Great hub. It definitely got me smiling ...

Happy as Larry was a saying that was coined about Larry Semon(July 6,1889 – October 8,1928) He was a movie comedian during the silent movie era. Well that's what my mum told me.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Fun and happy hub :)

Not sure if you'll like mine but here goes anyway...

Happy as a Pig in S_i_ :)


Senoritaa profile image

Senoritaa 4 years ago

Such a cool list! "Cloud nine" has somehow always been my favorite.


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

So much fun and STILL helpful MO :) I have several friends who are ESL and I often catch myself using phrases that are nonsensical to them. And trust me - the look of pure confusion gets me every single time. How wonderful of you to list them for others to learn. Funny


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Idioms are often invented by young people who are trying to be "hip." Is that still used. It was in my age group but those older than us said "hep" Hot became cool which can be confusing.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

When I taught ESL in the Middle East my students were facinated with idioms, so I'd pull out an exercise whenever they needed a treat to keep them going. Nine times out of ten when I gave the explanation they would tell me they had the same kind of saying in their language.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Nice Hub on a nice topic to help a person have a nice day for smiling makes a heart sing! :)

Thanks for the interesting links. I'm looking forward to checking them out, and thanks for


bmcoll3278 profile image

bmcoll3278 4 years ago from Longmont, Colorado

I have to agree with dahoglund a very good hub My kids say things all the time that make me go what? Like sick always meant under the weather now it has replaced cool


uzma shaheen profile image

uzma shaheen 4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

there are many which i never heard before.very informative hub.thanks for sharing your knowledge.

voting up and sharing.


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

Hi Everyone! New idioms and slang terms are always on the rise. Pop culture is another interesting topic. I do hope all of you have enjoyed reading through my happy idiom list. I'm proud as a peacock that all of you have taken the time to read and comment - thanks! :)


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

I can't imagine being happy as a clam. I guess it does look like they are smiling though. These are very neat and interesting!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

Tammyswallow - I wonder if clams are really happy? LOL

You are right, they do have a silly kind of grin. Thank you for reading and commenting :)


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

I'm walking on sunshine, jumping for joy, happy as a lark and tickled pink that you're about to reach a MONUMENTAL goal! :D

You go, girl. Si SE PUEDE!! Abrazos, suerte, y amistad!


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas Author

cclitgirl, hahaha I LOVE it. In fact, I'm proud as a peacock that you came by! Thank you so much for your support. ABRAZO!

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