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8 Old-Fashioned Ways to Describe Happiness You'll Love

"No medicine cures what happiness cannot,” Gabriel García Márquez wrote these famous lines in his 1994 novel 'Of Love and Other Demons'. And isn’t it so true? Happiness is such a wonderful feeling; something all of us strive to achieve. 
There are many great ways to describe your feeling of happiness in language – you might say you are elated, or ecstatic, or jubilant, or exultant, or… Well, the list is endless, isn’t it? However, there have been some really great words and expressions in the past too that were used to describe happiness but for some reason went out of fashion. Today, we will look back at some of those antiquated ways to say 'happy' that we’ve almost forgotten. We bet you'll love to have them back in modern parlance.

1. Over The Moon

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Over The Moon

Meaning: Very happy or delighted

While this is a well-known phrase, we don’t find ourselves using ‘over the moon’ much these days. 

You would perhaps be surprised to know that this expression comes from a 16th-century nursery rhyme called 'Hey Diddle Diddle' (originally written as 'High Diddle Diddle'). In its current sense, the phrase is believed to have originated in Ireland as most of its early uses are found in texts by Irish authors. The first recorded use of the phrase was as "to jump over the moon" in a comedy by the Irish playwright Charles Molloy (1690-1767) named The Coquet: Or, The English Chevalier in 1718.

Example Sentence: “My little kid was over the moon when he got his new basketball.” 

2. Chirky

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Chirky

Meaning: To ‘chirk up’ means to cheer up and chirky means being cheerful. 

It comes from the Middle English word charken which means "to creak or chirp" and from the Old English cearcian, meaning "to chatter or creak". It is similar to the Old English word cracian, meaning "to crack". The first known use of chirk was in 1843, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  

Example Sentence: “But--" "Well, I think," said Mis' Jane Moran, "that we've hit on the only way we could have hit on to chirk each other up over a hard time." – From ‘Christmas’ (1912) by Zona Gale

3. Tickled 

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Tickled 
Meaning: Very happy or amused
The old version of the word ‘tickled’ dates back to the 16th century. William Shakespeare used it in his play Coriolanus, (Act 1, scene 1), where he wrote “Such a nature, tickled with good success, disdains the shadow which he treads on at noon.” Later on, in the later 19th century and early 20th century, the word was used to form the expression “tickled pink.” Linguists believe that’s likely to have happened because of the pinkish flush that people give off when they are too happy or thrilled about something. 
Example Sentence: “He was tickled pink to see her after a year.”

4. Kvelling

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Kvelling
Meaning: Feel happy and proud

The word 'kvell' was derived from the Yiddish word kveln, which means "to be delighted”. Kveln, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word quellen, which means "to well, gush, or swell." It isn’t clear exactly when did kvell make its first appearance in the English language and when did it start getting used commonly. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says that one of the first instances of the word being used in an English source was in a 1952 handbook of Jewish words and expressions.

Example Sentence:  “If my mother could see my work today, she’d be kvelling.”

5. Gladsome

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Gladsome
Meaning: Giving or showing joy
This unique word dates back to 1325–75 and is thought to have been derived from the word 'glad', meaning delighted or pleased, and comes from the Old English word glæd. Incidentally, glæd was originally used to depict ‘bright’ or ‘shining’.
Example Sentence: “It was such a gladsome spectacle that she literally skipped for joy.”

6. Cock-A-Hoop

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Cock-A-Hoop
Meaning: Triumphantly and obviously pleased; usually for an achievement 
This adjective comes from the 16th-century phrase "to set cock a hoop, to set (the) cock on (the) hoop". Apparently, this meant to turn on the tap and let the liquor flow. The earliest known appearance of this phrase is from A dialoge of comfort against tribulacion, by the English humanist Thomas More (1478-1535). In later centuries, the grammatical construction and use of the phrase both saw changes and since the 20th century, cock-a-hoop was very commonly used to describe players celebrating after winning a game.  
Example Sentence: “They were positively cock-a-hoop over their victory.”

7. Delira and Excira

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Delira and Excira
Meaning: Delirious and excited
This is an Irish exclamation of happiness that was made popular by chat show host Gay Byrne (1934 – 2019). Byrne, who hosted The Late Late Show from 1962 until 1999, frequently used the phrase during the show and it caught on fast. In fact, ‘Delira and Excira’ became his celebrated catchphrase and was very popular among the Irish back in the 60s-70s as a way of expressing excitement or delight.
Example Sentence: “I was delira and excira when I heard that my daughter had cleared her exams with flying colors.”

8. Convivial

Archaic Ways to Say ‘Happy’, Convivial

Meaning: (of an atmosphere) friendly and lively; agreeable
                   (of a person) cheerful and jovial

Convivial’s origins can be traced back to convivium a Late Latin word meaning "banquet” or a “feast”. It meant to imply a festive or cheerful atmosphere and is also used to describe a jovial person.

In his novel 'David Copperfield', Charles Dickens captures the essence of the word quite perfectly: “We had a beautiful little dinner. Quite an elegant dish of fish; the kidney-end of a loin of veal, roasted; fried sausage-meat; a partridge, and a pudding. There was wine, and there was strong ale.... Mr. Micawber was uncommonly convivial. I never saw him such good company. He made his face shine with the punch, so that it looked as if it had been varnished all over. He got cheerfully sentimental about the town, and proposed success to it."

Example Sentence: “After an extremely convivial weekend, he didn’t feel like going to work that Monday”.

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