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What is the Origin of the Words “Happy as a Clam”?

When Was the Phrase “Happy as a Clam” First Used?

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What is the Origin of the Words “Happy as a Clam”?

• These words are actually a part of the phrase "happy as a clam in high water." You can replace the words “high water” with “high tide”.
• The full phrase was said to be first used in the middle of 1880’s.
• The shorter version was first used in the year 1830.
• These words were also written in John G. Saxe’s poems such as Sonnet to a Clam.
• 8 years after, the Southern Literary Messenger magazine considered the full phrase to be unimportant for the shorter phrase is widely known already.
• The phrase became well known during the 1900’s in United States.
• The phrase was formulated because of the fact that clams are “happy” at high tide for no fisherman can catch them. High tide imposes too much danger for a fisherman to go looking for clams at this period of time.

Meaning of the Phrase “Happy as a Clam”

• The phrase “happy as a clam” acts as a simile describing individuals who are secure and glad of the things that are currently happening in their lives.
• They don’t see danger coming to them real soon.
• The phrase suggests a feeling of wellness and contentment too.
• It pertains to any current feeling that is fun and desirable.
• The shell of a clam is something that is very hard to break. Thus, it also adds relevance to the meaning of the phrase. The Sonnet to a Clam’s last line: “thy case is shocking hard!” verifies the mentioned statement as well.

Life has its own ups and downs. Thus, we can’t really expect to be happy as a clam all the time. Nevertheless, we are still entitled to enjoy life as it is.

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