What Does Happy As Larry Mean?

Happy as Larry Meaning

Definition: Very happy.

Origin of Happy as Larry

This expression first appeared in print in the year 1875, from a New Zealand writer.

  • We would be as happy as Larry if it were not for the rats.

The exact origin is unclear, but most sources list two main theories.

The first theory is that the Larry from the expression is a famous boxer named Larry Foley. He was Australian; he lived at the time the expression appeared; he was very successful and, therefore, presumably happy. These three things lend support to the first theory. However, there is no real proof.

The second theory is that Larry actually comes from larrikin. This word was slang for a person who was a troublemaker. This slang term also fits the right time frame and existed in the place of origin. Again there is no proof of the connection.

For the time being, we are still looking for Larry and left wondering why he is so happy.

Examples of Happy as Larry

where does the saying happy as larry come from In the dialogue below, two friends are talking about some exciting news.

Ezekiel: Guess what!

Maggie: What?

Ezekiel: I got a promotion at work! I’ll finally be able to do the type of work I love and that I’ve been waiting to do.

Maggie: That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you.

Ezekiel: I’m happy too! I’m as happy as Larry.

happy as larry saying In this example, two friends are discussing a gift that one of them got for his granddaughter.

Tyrion: I’m having trouble thinking of what to get my grandkids for Christmas this year.

Mila: I know! It’s always a tough decision.

Tyrion: Yeah. Especially this year because last year’s gift was so good. It will be hard to top. Last year, I got my granddaughter a kitten. She was as happy as Larry! It was her favorite gift of all time.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an opinion piece. The author thinks that some people are trying to convince Scottish people that they are happier than they really are. He believes they are doing this in order to manipulate public opinion about Scottish independence.

  • They are hoping lots of us will pause and ask ourselves: “Why do we need independence when Scotland is quite palpably as happy as Larry?” –The Guardian

This excerpt is about a grandmother who will take custody of her grandchildren, since the parents died. The grandmother uses the expression to describe how happy the granddaughter is to come live with her.

  • Rita added: “At least we will now be able to grieve and my son can rest in peace. That’s what we want. He wouldn’t rest in peace if his children were not brought home. I was speaking to Sarah yesterday. She was as happy as Larry and told me she loved me.” –Irish Independent


The saying as happy as Larry means to be overjoyed.