Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Deep Dive into English Idioms About Happiness

Elly Kimreviewed byIryna Andrus / more about Editorial Process7 min
Created: Apr 11, 2023Last updated: Jan 23, 2024
Happy Idioms

English is full of idioms and famous sayings about almost everything. And happiness, as one of the most powerful feelings in the world, is no exception. Every happy expression describes different emotions and states of mind. And today, we will tell you about the most common idioms and phrases about happiness in English. You know that we are always ready to put a smile on your face, and now is our time to shine. 

What Are Happy Idioms

Let’s start with a more simple term. What is an idiom? In layman’s terms, it is a phrase or expression with a figurative or non-literal meaning different from the literal definition of the words. An idiom’s meaning is usually unclear from the individual words that make it up. In addition, its usage can vary depending on the context and cultural background of the speaker and listener. 

Happiness, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. It is a state of well-being characterized by positive emotions, contentment, and satisfaction with one’s life. It is a subjective experience that can be influenced by various factors, such as personal circumstances, relationships, wealth, etc. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that happiness is an important aspect of human life and is crucial to our physical, mental, and social health.

And now, it is time to answer the main question – what are the idioms for happiness? They are phrases or expressions that use language to convey a sense of joy, contentment, or satisfaction. These idioms often use figurative language or metaphors to describe the experience of happiness or the actions associated with being happy. Just as simple as that!

Types of Happy Idioms

There are numerous good phrases to describe happiness. And, of course, it is difficult to keep them all in mind. To make it a bit easier for you, we’ve decided to classify them and determine a few main categories depending on their usage context and emotion. And we are thrilled to share them with you! Take a look at the three main types of happy idioms in English.

  1. Idioms about happiness. It is the most extensive category. It includes different phrases and expressions that describe the experience of happiness, joy, and satisfaction. 
  2. Idioms about spreading happiness. The best way to feel happy is to make someone else feel the same way. Hence, our next category includes various expressions for spreading joy and making people feel good. 
  3. Idioms about overcoming sadness. Unfortunately, we can’t be happy all the time. We also have bad days or tough situations that make us feel sad. But even after the darkest night, the sun will rise again. And many idioms describe the process of overcoming sadness and feeling happy again.

These are the main types of joy idioms. And if you want to become as happy as the sayings describe, we invite you to read the next part of our article. Now that you know the general definitions and common types of such expressions, it is time to get acquainted with the best examples and learn how to implement them in your daily conversations. 

Famous Happy Phrases With Meaning and Examples

We hope you are as happy as we are now because even talking about happiness can significantly brighten your day. And to consolidate your knowledge, we are ready to provide you with some of the most famous sayings and happy examples you can use to expand your vocabulary and pleasantly surprise your English-speaking friends.

  • To be on cloud nine/To be on top of the world

Both of these idioms have a similar meaning. They describe extreme happiness and the feeling that you can overcome all challenges and reach all your goals. For example:

Q: Have you seen Jane today? She looks a bit crazy. 

A: Yeah, I’ve talked to her. She is on cloud nine because she passed the finals and found her dream job on the same day.

  • Happy as a clam/Happy as Larry

These are other famous idioms that share the same meaning. Both of them define a delighted person. But the second one is usually used in Australian and New Zealand slang. For example: 

She spent the night at the hotel and was as happy as a clam. 

I don’t have to go to work today, so I am happy as Larry.

  • In high spirits

This is another wonderful idiom that describes the feeling of joy and happiness. When someone is in high spirits, they experience extreme emotional uplift and are ready to conquer the world. For example: 

She was in high spirits on her last workday before vacation. 

Sorry if I look weird. I’m in high spirits because my mom is coming to visit me. And we haven’t seen each other in years!

  • To bring a smile to someone’s face

This idiom is not about feeling happy, but about spreading happiness. Its meaning is almost clear – to make something good for other people to make them happy. For example: 

I was extremely frustrated and upset, but my husband brought a smile to my face.

Kate always knows how to bring a smile to her friends’ faces.

  • To make one’s day/To warm one’s heart

Like the previous idiom, these two are also about making other people happy. For example: 

Thank you for saying that! You always know how to warm my heart.

Have you heard the latest news? They made my day!

  • To be thrilled to bits

This is a typical British idiom, meaning to be highly pleased or satisfied with something. For example:

Jake will be thrilled to bits with his present! 

This new dress I bought for our date makes me thrilled to bits.

  • To grin and bear it

This idiom is related to overcoming sadness. The meaning of the expression is simple – to endure a difficult situation with a positive attitude, even if you are not particularly happy about it. For example:

Even though the project was terrible, I knew I had to grin and bear it to finish it on time. 

Kayla doesn’t like her boss, but I tell her to grin and bear it to get the raise.

  • Like a dog with two tails

Do you know how excited dogs can be when they see their tail? So imagine their extreme happiness if they had not one, but two! That is why this idiom describes a powerful feeling of joy and satisfaction. For example:

She was like a dog with two tails when she received the news that she had been accepted into her dream university.

The kids were like dogs with two tails when their parents surprised them with a trip to Disneyland.

  • Tickled pink 

The last idiom on our list appeared in America in the early 20th century. It means to be highly pleased and delighted, and this feeling is usually caused by something unexpected. For example:

She was tickled pink after discovering she had won the award for the best actress in a leading role.

He was tickled pink when his friends threw him a surprise party for his birthday.


Find Out the Best Expressions of Joy With Promova

Learning English is not just about mastering grammar rules and vocabulary words. It’s also about understanding the nuances of the language, including various idioms commonly used by natives in casual conversations. Here at Promova, we know the importance of studying such nuances and the benefits they can bring. And we offer our students various resources to help them reach their language goals. 

First, you need to know that we have a team of professional tutors who are passionate about teaching and can provide personalized instruction to help students improve their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. You can join them for personal or group lessons. Additionally, in a friendly and engaging environment, students can improve their English in our free Conversation Club and speaking classes. And for those who like to learn while on the go, we designed the convenient Promova app.

Promova also offers a free trial lesson for those new to our platform to help you start your language-learning journey. It is designed to introduce students to our teaching methods, curriculum, and resources and help them determine if our platform fits them and choose the studying option that suits them best. As you can see, there is a lot to choose from. So go to the official Promova website, and become one step closer to your language fluency!


All in all, being happy is a beautiful feeling, and tons of idioms in English describe it perfectly. Learning them is pretty beneficial, as it can significantly expand your vocabulary and make you sound more fluent. We hope this article was helpful. And don’t forget to write your favorite idiom about happiness in the comments section!


What can I do to be happy?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what makes a person happy, as it can vary from individual to individual. However, some general tips to increase happiness include practicing gratitude, setting goals and working towards them, nurturing relationships with loved ones, taking care of physical and mental health, and helping others through acts of kindness. It’s also important to remember that happiness is not a constant state, and it’s okay to experience a range of emotions.

What is the difference between hedonic and eudaemonic happiness?

The difference between hedonic and eudaemonic happiness is in their underlying principles. Hedonic happiness focuses on pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain, while eudaemonic happiness is about living a life of purpose and meaning. Both of these terms are philosophical; they came from the Ancient Greeks.

Can using happy idioms help me sound more native?

Yes, using happy idioms can help you sound more native-like in English. Idioms are an essential part of the language, and using them correctly can demonstrate a deeper understanding of the language and culture. Additionally, idioms are often used in everyday conversation and can add color and personality to your speech.

What is the origin of the idiom happy as Larry?

Most people believe this idiom originated in the 19th century in Australia. Back then, there was a famous boxer named Larry Foley. His fame was based on his extreme luck – he never lost a fight. Due to the number of victories, people started to call him Happy Larry. And after that, the phrase to be as happy as Larry became a famous expression and is now used in many English-speaking countries.


LoganMar 12th, 2024
Great article
Wayne FarrellAug 8th, 2023
Kudos to the writer for compiling such a heartwarming list of idioms about happiness!