hap·​py ˈha-pē How to pronounce happy (audio)
happier; happiest
: favored by luck or fortune : fortunate
a happy coincidence
: notably fitting, effective, or well adapted : felicitous
a happy choice
: enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment
is the happiest person I know
a happy childhood
: expressing, reflecting, or suggestive of happiness
a happy ending
: glad, pleased
I'm happy to meet you
: having or marked by an atmosphere of good fellowship : friendly
a happy office
: characterized by a dazed irresponsible state
a punch-happy boxer
: impulsively or obsessively quick to use or do something
: enthusiastic about something to the point of obsession : obsessed
education-conscious and statistic-happyHelen Rowen
Choose the Right Synonym for happy

lucky, fortunate, happy, providential mean meeting with unforeseen success.

lucky stresses the role of chance in bringing about a favorable result.

won because of a lucky bounce

fortunate suggests being rewarded beyond what one deserves.

fortunate in my investments

happy combines the implications of lucky and fortunate with stress on being blessed.

a series of happy accidents

providential more definitely implies the help or intervention of a higher power.

a providential change in the weather

fit, suitable, meet, proper, appropriate, fitting, apt, happy, felicitous mean right with respect to some end, need, use, or circumstance.

fit stresses adaptability and sometimes special readiness for use or action.

fit for battle

suitable implies an answering to requirements or demands.

clothes suitable for camping

meet suggests a just proportioning.

meet payment

proper suggests a suitability through essential nature or accordance with custom.

proper acknowledgement

appropriate implies eminent or distinctive fitness.

an appropriate gift

fitting implies harmony of mood or tone.

a fitting end

apt connotes a fitness marked by nicety and discrimination.

apt quotations

happy suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate.

a happy choice of words

felicitous suggests an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful.

a felicitous phrase

Examples of happy in a Sentence

She was a very happy child. You don't look happy. What's the problem? We're all one big, happy family here. I'd do anything to make her happy. I could hear the children's happy laughter in the other room. She had a very happy childhood. They've had a very happy marriage. I was glad the movie had a happy ending. We are so happy that you were able to come to the party. They are not at all happy about the rise in taxes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Poway coach John Meyers couldn’t have been happier. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Feb. 2024 In a touching 2022 tribute on Instagram, his daughter Bindi Irwin remembered her father with love and wished him a happy birthday. Andrea Wurzburger, Peoplemag, 18 Feb. 2024 But the survey also pointed out that the majority of Californians, including myself, are happy living here. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2024 Young Mikolaj grew up in a happy, elegant home with three older siblings — two sisters and a brother. Danuta Hamlin, Fox News, 18 Feb. 2024 Trump, one of 40 witnesses to testify at the trial, said his financial statements actually understated his net worth and that banks did their own research and were happy with his business. Michael R. Sisak, arkansasonline.com, 17 Feb. 2024 Some of my happiest memories growing up in the 1990s were relishing in Western fast food chains like KFC. TIME, 17 Feb. 2024 The ex-president’s attorneys also claimed any mistakes the company did make were victimless, because the financial institutions the company did business with were happy with Trump and did not lose money. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 These social-justice biopics remake cultural history for a generation that never experienced the excitement of risk-taking artists but is happy to fold their legend into the easy clichés of modern activist cant. Armond White, National Review, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'happy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from hap

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of happy was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near happy

Cite this Entry

“Happy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/happy. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


hap·​py ˈhap-ē How to pronounce happy (audio)
happier; happiest
: suitable sense 1
a happy choice for governor
: enjoying well-being and contentment
happy in my work
: expressing or suggestive of happiness
happy laughter
: being pleased or glad
happy to accept an invitation

Middle English happy "having or being good luck," a specialized sense of hap "chance, chance occurrence" — related to happen, mishap, perhaps

More from Merriam-Webster on happy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!