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Many Happy Returns? Return to What?

Rick in San Diego, California, wants to know why his older relatives always inscribed birthday cards with the phrase many happy returns of the day. This phrase, and the shorter version, many happy returns, indicates that the speaker is sending...

Burn Bag

The slang coming out of Victorian mouths was more colorful than you might think. A 1909 collection of contemporary slang records clever terms for everything from a bald head to the act of sidling through a crowd. Plus, how to remember the difference...

Happy as Larry

New research shows that you may be less influenced by superstitious behavior like walking under ladders or the magic of four-leaf clovers if you’re reading about it in another language. • Sometimes not cursing will catch someone’s ear...

Happy as Larry Meaning and Origins

A woman in Perote, Alabama, wonders about the phrase happy as Larry, meaning very happy. This expression is commonly heard in Britain and Australia. It may derive from a jocular reference to the biblical Lazarus, who presumably would have been happy...

Happy Birthday Without a Shirt!

The long popular and newly legal-to-sing “Happy Birthday to You” has always been ripe for lyrical variations, particularly at the end of the song. Some add a “cha cha cha” or “forever more on Channel 4,” but a...