How Did The Saying "Happy As Larry "originate?


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Will Martin answered
This phrase is first recorded in the 19th century, and all the early uses seem to have been in Australia or New Zealand. Later, and especially in the 20th century, it became widespread in the UK too, though not the US as far as I know.

There are two theories as to how it originated. The first, and the more likely, is that it came from the fame of Australian boxer Larry Foley. Foley's fame and success were at their height in the 1870s - which is about the time when the first use of the phrase is recorded.

The other possibility is that it derives from the older Cornish word LARRIKIN, which means a loutish, badly behaved boy or young man (this could be the origin of the phrase "larking about.") Larrikin did come into use in Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century, so this is possible.

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