Green’s Dictionary of Slang

happy as... adj.

in phrs. meaning either very happy or very unhappy.

[UK]T. Creevey letter 5 Oct. in Gore Creevey Papers (1948) 103: I am as happy as a grig with little Thet, and don’t care a damn for Liverpool.
[UK]Honk! 4 Jan. 6/2: If the O.T. could only get two square feet of Mother Earth under him, he would be happy as ‘Knock out’ in a two-up school.

In phrases

...a bastard on father’s day

(Aus.) very unhappy.

[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 28: Happy as a bastard on father’s day: Extremely unhappy.
ABC Radio (Aus.) ‘Lingua Franca’ [radio script] I think the crude and rambunctious verbal humour of ordinary working Australians is a tiny treasure of world culture, and if the way they talk out beyond the black sump was eradicated I’d be about as happy as a bastard on Father’s Day.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 124: To be as happy as a bastard on father’s day is to be not very happy at all.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 97: happy as a bride without her bloke/a Baptist in a nudist colony/a bastard on Father’s Day/a kiwi in a dog kennel/a shag off a rock/a sick eel on a sandspit, etc Very unhappy in some of the multitude of variations. ANZ. happy as a dog with two dicks Ecstatically happy.
...a black in a barrel of treacle

extremely happy.

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 12 Jan. 227: I’m as happy as a black in a barrel of treacle, dear wife.
...a boxing kangaroo in fog time

(Aus.) very discontented, very unhappy.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 87: Here are a few more similes snatched from our environment: [...] happy as a boxing kangaroo in fogtime.
...(a box of) birds [...the chirping of birds]

(Aus./UK/US) in very high spirits.

[UK]Sporting Times 15 Mar. 2/1: So we were all happy as birds together.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning 88: As happy as a bird.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 88: Of additional similes peculiarly our own, the following are among the best: [...] to feel like a box of birds, to feel happy or ‘chirpy’.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 28: As soon as I saw the sporting pages in the last papers I was happy as a box of birds.
[UK] (ref. 1940s) B. Morrison Things My Mother Never Told Me 87: Expressions of happiness come in several forms: full of beans, box o’ birds and happy as a sandboy.
...a bug in a rug (also ...a bug on a hot stove, ...a bedbug/June bug, lively as bugs in a rug)

(US) very happy.

[US]S.P. Boyer diary 15 May in Barnes Naval Surgeon (1963) 189: All were gay and happy [...] Secoconoson and all the rest as lively as bugs in a rug.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning 88: As happy as a bedbug [...] as happy as a June bug.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘Money’ in Amer. Songbag 112: When you’ve got lots of money [...] You’re as happy as a bug in a rug.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Top Kick 9: I knew he’d be happy as a bug on a hot stove watchin’ for the O.D. and tryin’ to see him in time to give me the office.
[US]J.P. McEvoy Hollywood Girl 158: Come back to New York and marry me and we can be as happy as a couple of bugs in a rug.
...a clam (also ...a clam at high tide/water, ...a cricket, ...a horned toad, ...a sandbag)

(US) very happy, totally satisfied.

[US]Harvardiana I 121: He could not even enjoy that peculiar degree of satisfaction, usually denoted by the phrase ‘as happy as a clam’ [DA].
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[UK] diary R.B. Hayes in Williams Diary and Letters (1922) I 14 June 364: Happy as a ‘king,’ ‘a lark,’ ‘a clam’.
[US] ‘The Happy Miner’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 135: No matter whether rich or poor, I’m happy as a clam.
[US]letter q. in Wiley Life of Billy Yank (1952) 43: They were as happy as clams in high water.
[US] in R.G. Carter Four Brothers in Blue (1978) 11 Dec. 193: Bob is [...] as happy as a clam to-night.
[UK]W.H. Smyth Sailor’s Word-Bk (1991) 189: Clam [...] ‘As happy as a clam at high-water,’ a figurative expression for otiose comfort.
[US]Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 669: There is another class of similes scarcely as pertinent; as, for instance: [...] talk to him like a Dutch uncle; smiling as a basket of chips; odd as Dick’s hatband; happy as a clam at high water.
[US] ‘Farmer Greeley’ in Farmer of Chappaqua Songster 9: He keeps himself as happy as a clam.
[US] ‘The Little Old Sod Shanty’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 465: I’m happy as a clam on this land of Uncle Sam’s.
[US] ‘Kansas Land’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 462: I got my land from Uncle Sam, / And I am happy as a clam.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 11: happy as a clam, prov. Also commoner, ‘happy as a clam at high water’.
[US]N.Y. Eve. Post 20 June 5: Now I’m in business and happy as a clam at high tide [DA].
[US]J.C. Lincoln Cap’n Warren’s Wards 244: I was as happy as a clam at highwater [DA].
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 137: Young Pridlets said, ‘I don’t agree wi’ you’, ’an made the ole man as ’appy as a sand-bag’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 214: Lees is happy as a clam in high water.
[NZ]J. Henderson Gunner Inglorious (1974) 155: But I’m happy as a clam in this land of fleas and sand.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 161: I’m happy as a cricket [...] I just can’t get over being so happy.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 405: She was happy as a clam.
[US]G. Swarthout Skeletons 114: ‘You’re pleased.’ ‘Happy as a horned toad.’.
[US]LaBarge & Holt Sweetwater Gunslinger 201 (1990) 108: Warbucks was happy as a clam at high tide.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 201: There I am, in the Grade Six class pictures, smiling broadly. Happy as a clam, is what my mother says for happy.
[UK]Guardian 28 July 7: How happy is this album? It is about as happy as a clam after it has been prised open and fried with garlic and parsley.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 451: She’s happy as a clam.
...a dog with two tails (also ...with a tin tail, ...with two dicks/mickeys, ...with a bellyful of soup and a streetful of lamp-posts)

very happy.

[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 48: I’m happy as a dog with a bellyful of soup and a streetful of lamp-posts.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner’ in Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 11: I’m going to feel as hot as a pot-bellied stove, and as happy as a dog with a tin tail.
[UK]K. Lette Foetal Attraction (1994) 228: Don’t worry. In a few weeks you’ll be as happy as a dog with two dicks.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 4: He was as happy as a dog with two mickeys.
...a flea at a dog-show (also ...as moths in a best blanket)

(N.Z.) very happy.

[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 67: And we all drinks together as happy as moths in a best blanket.
[NZ]Dominion (Wellington) 9 Nov. 13: The troops mustered two dozen cans of Fosters, the chief (engineer) and I gave him [i.e. a reporter] the rum we’ve been saving... He’s as happy as a flea at a dog show [DNZE].
...a nun weeding the asparagus

(Can.) very cheerful (with obvious sexual overtones given the ‘phallic’ asparagus).

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 530: [...] since ca. 1910.
...a pig in shit (also ...pigs in shit, ...a pig in clover, ...muck, ...mud, ...shite, ...sugar, ...hogs in shit, ...pigs in mud)

extremely happy.

[US]Boston Gazette 7 Jan. n.p.: Canadians! Then in droves come over, And live henceforth like pigs in clover [DA].
[UK]Sporting Times 18 Jan. 1: Wondering Why the Pig who got in Clover thought the Sward was Mightier than the Pen.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues V 193/2: as happy as a pig in muck (or shit) = contented but filthy.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 14: Happy as pigs in muck.
[Aus](con. 1941) E. Lambert Twenty Thousand Thieves 67: ‘Every body happy?’ ‘Happy as pigs in mud,’ snarled Dooley.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 345: I seen her in the line [...] swishing and giggling, happy as a pig in shit.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 16: I was happy as a pig in shit.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 87: They [...] were as happy as hogs in shit.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 134: Talked to fein this morning. Happy as a pig in shit.
[UK]S. May No Exceptions in Best Radio Plays (1984) 116: Give him a job – carrying gear, moving furniture – happy as a pig in muck.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Strained Relations’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Yeah, he’s happy as a pig in sugar!
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 141: ‘So your boss is quite happy, eh?’ [...] ‘Yeah. Happy as the proverbial pig in shit’.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Phantom Blooper 15: We are as happy as pigs in shit because killing is our business and business is good.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 226: When we went to the yards he was happier than a pig in shit.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Secret World of the Irish Male (1995) 85: I was happy as a pig in shite.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 45: We were pigs in shit, the three of us.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 147: The Wop was like a pig in shit: happily squashed between youthful limbs.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 311: — Yis a happy mahn, Colm? — As a pig in shite.
[UK] (ref. 1940s) B. Morrison Things My Mother Never Told Me 131: Landing lucky in the Azores, Flight-Lieutenant 118415 feels like a pig in clover.
D. Shaw ‘Dead Beard’ at www.asstr.org [Internet] Basically, I’m as happy as a pig in clover, especially when Monica takes some holiday snapshots I’ll really enjoy posting to my china plates.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 96: All our doctors are Asians in Walthamstow. You be like a pig in shit.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 39: Now Sonny’s got his champagne [...] he’s as happy as a pig in shit.
...a sick eel on a sandpit (also ...a hooked fish)

(N.Z.) very unhappy.

[NZ]J. Henderson Gunner Inglorious (1974) 88: He’d go up to a guard and [...] suck his lips and look as happy as a hooked fish.
[NZ]H. Beattie Pioneer Recollections (1956) 58: And so the seekers after ‘Duncan’ at length turned their faces homeward, looking about as happy as a sick eel on a sand spit [DNZE].
...Larry (also ...Harry) [ety. unknown; ‘possibly but not certainly commemorating the noted Australian pugilist Larry Foley (1847–1917)’ (Baker, 1966); more likely a link to larry n.2 ]

(orig. Aus.) perfectly happy, quite content.

J.F. Keane Six months in the Hejaz 39: The boy is now with us in Meccah, happy as Larry.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 Nov. Red Page/1: Rats! Sending over to plaguey Sydney for music! Some of these days a microbe will come sailing over on a piece of music as happy as Larry, and then where’ll you be?
[Aus]J. Furphy Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) [Internet] Presently he’ll come jogging along here, as happy as Larry.
[Aus]Kia Ora Coo-ee 15 May 7/3: ’Member when we uster lob inter camp, covered in dust and dry as bones? Why, we were as happy as Larry. Use’n’t the lads to swear when they bumped their septics?
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 278: I’m happy as larry!
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 25: He said he was as happy as Larry to see a fresh face.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 322: Aunt Della and Uncle Ned were as happy as Larry.
[Ire]S. Beckett Murphy (1963) 124: Left in peace they would have been happy as Larry, short for Lazarus, whose raising seemed to Murphy perhaps the one occasion on which the Messiah had over stepped the mark.
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 57: As happy as Larry lookin’ at them.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 177: They was all as happy as Larry till you come down talking bloody war.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 88: Of additional similes peculiarly our own, the following are among the best: [...] happy as larry, extremely happy.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 86: Full as a boot and happy as Larry.
[Aus]K. Willey Ghosts of the Big Country 59: The grog’s got ’em now [...] When we held our annual race meetings years ago the blacks were as happy as Larry.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 387: For my first nine years I was on foot patrol on the beat. I was as happy as Harry.
[Ire]T. Murphy Gigli Concert in Plays 3 (1994) Scene iv: I’d never took a girl out before but I walked happy-as-larry, bliss, Mr King, at her side.
[Ire]P. McCabe Breakfast on Pluto 158: Pat McGrane (old classmate) is as happy as larry.
[UK]Guardian G2 1 June 6: You shake your butt for men [...] and they’re happy as Larry.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 134: I come out of nick happy as Larry.