View Full Version : Who is Larry?

29th Mar 2003, 05:47
And why is he so happy?
Does anyone actually know a Larry who's notably cheerful?

tony draper
29th Mar 2003, 06:51
Ha!hope yer didn't think a easy one like that would stump us prooners.

Happy as Larry

Very happy.
Probably an Australian expression. Thought to refer to the Australian boxer Larry Foley (1847 - 1917). Why was he so happy? I've no idea. An alternative explanation is that it relates to the Cornish and later Australian slang term larrikin, meaning a rough type or hooligan, i.e. one predisposed to larking about.

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 15th edition.
Microsoft Bookshelf 1999


Four Seven Eleven
29th Mar 2003, 14:56

It seems that you may be right but the following link has the phrase being used in New Zealand as early as 1875.
Happy as...... (http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-lar1.htm)

From Karl Haas; a similar question came from James Cartwright: “Who is Larry and why is he happy?”
A neat question, but American readers in particular will need some background before I can address it. The phrase happy as Larry seems to have originated as either Australian or New Zealand slang sometime before 1875. This date is earlier than that given in most dictionaries, but H W Orsman, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English, has traced it to a New Zealand writer named G L Meredith, who wrote in about 1875: “We would be as happy as Larry if it were not for the rats”. Unlike other odd phrases—the Australian happy as a boxing kangaroo in fog time and the New Zealand happy as a sick eel on a sandspit come to mind—it was meant positively: extremely happy or content.
There’s a suggestion that it comes from the name of the nineteenth-century Australian boxer Larry Foley (1847-1917), though why he was especially happy nobody now seems able to say. Perhaps he won a lot of contests? (He was certainly one of those who originated gloved boxing rather than bare-knuckle fighting in Australia and his name is still remembered there.) But this origin is far from certain and the early New Zealand reference renders it less so, without ruling it out altogether.
Dr Orsman’s suggestion is that it is more likely to come from an English dialect source, larrie, joking, jesting, a practical joke. Another possible link is with the Australian and New Zealand term larrikin for a street rowdy or young urban hooligan, recorded from the late 1860s but known especially in both countries from the 1880s onwards in reference to a specific subculture. Like other groups before and since, the larrikins had their own dress style, in their case very neat and rather severe. The word may well have come from English dialect larrikin for a mischievous youth, once common in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, which itself is closely related to larrie. Either of these sources could afterwards have been reinforced through a supposed connection with Larry Foley.

There is a notably cheerful Larry called Larry Emdur, who was once the host of the Australian version of "The Price is Right". Larry's most notable characteristic was that he appeared to have inherited the teeth of ALL of the Osmonds.

30th Mar 2003, 10:28
Often wondered how anybody could be that happy. Hats off to him.

31st Mar 2003, 00:12
What about pigs in....you know. How come they are so happy? i cant think of a worse situation to be in myself.

larry, never met him, seems cheerful enough though.


31st Mar 2003, 13:25
Larry is a Lamb

He's happy because thats the natural state of any Lamb.

They also gambol quite a lot, especially at this time of year.

Me and Ewe know about lambs...

Through difficulties to the cinema

31st Mar 2003, 16:29
I have even seen it proposed that this refers to Lazarus, who was "raised from the dead" and therefore had every reason to be "happy"!!

31st Mar 2003, 16:43
If I remember the song then the answer could be.....

"cancer, and my name is Larry,
And I like all women of the world."

So, I blame the Floaters and their cheese-fest "Float On"

The answer must therefore be that he is happy because he is easily pleased by any old boiler who pays him some attention.