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cock-a-hoop In a state of elation or exultation; also to make cock-a-hoop and the now obsolete phrase to set cock a hoop or cock on hoop ‘to drink and make merry.’ Although this expression is of obscure origin there have been several attempts to explain it. One such explanation maintains that cock formerly referred to the spigot on a barrel of ale. Supposedly, this cock was removed and placed on the hoop of the barrel, so that the free-flowing ale could be drunk with abandon. Thus, the drinkers were said to be cock-a-hoop. A somewhat more tenuous explanation uses the ‘male fowl’ meaning of cock and relates hoop to whoop, thus comparing the boisterous merrymaking to a cock whooping or crowing. Variants of the expression have been in use since 1529.
feel one’s oats To feel spry, lively, and chipper, sometimes to the point of feistiness; to feel important or special. This expression refers to horse-feed which usually contains oats as one of its major components. A well-cared-for and well-fed horse is active and lively, or “feeling its oats.”
You know that, and you feel your oats, too, as well as anyone. (Thomas Haliburton, Attache, 1843)
happy as a clam at high tide Quite happy, delighted, well-pleased, content; also happy as a clam, happy as a clam at high water, and other variants. The allusion is probably to the relative safety a clam enjoys at high tide when water hides its mud flat habitat from clam-diggers. Apparently the original version of this U.S. colloquial expression was simply happy as a clam, since it appears as such in the earliest citations of the phrase which date from the early 19th century.
Now I’m in business and happy as a clam at high tide. (New York Evening Post, June, 1907)
have the world on a string To be in high spirits, to be on top of the world, to be “sitting pretty”; to feel as if one has life completely under control, that the forces of the world are waiting to be manipulated for one’s pleasure. The word string referring to a tie of dependency or a means of controlling a person or animal dates from the 14th century. By the 16th century, have the world in a string appeared in print.
Those that walk as they will, … persuading themselves that they have the world in a string, are like the ruffian Capaney, … (Brian Melbancke, Pnilotimus, 1583)
Today in has been replaced by on, but the expression continues to enjoy widespread use.
in fine feather In an excellent physical and mental state; in superb condition; also in high feather. The origin of these expressions is associated with the molting and subsequent new growth of a bird’s plumage. Thomas Hardy uses the phrase “summer days of highest feather” in Return of the Native (1878).
in fine fettle In splendid condition; in a jubilant state of mind. The Old English fetel ‘belt, girdle’ is the likely ancestor of this expression, which apparently first referred more to physical appearance than mental state. One “in fine fettle” was well dressed and smartly attired. The transference of the term’s application from external appearance to inner state of mind is easily seen in light of the fact that one’s manner of dress is still considered to reflect and express one’s emotional state. In this phrase, fine is occasionally replaced by another modifier to describe other states or conditions.
I’m in terrible poor fettle with the toothache. (Henrietta Lear, Tales of Kirkbeck, 1850)
in merry pin Happy, cheerful, elated, light-hearted; in a good mood or frame of mind. The pin in this expression probably refers to the pegs which are used to tune a stringed musical instrument. One source suggests that pin may allude to the pegs on a peg-tankard, for which there were a number of uses. One use provided a favorite alehouse pastime: trying to drink only to the next lower pin on the tankard. If this were not done exactly, and it rarely was, the drinker had to try again and again until successful—attempts which inevitably led to intoxicated merriment and mirth.
The calendar, right glad to find His friend in merry pin,
Return’d him not a single word, But to the house went in.
(William Cowper, John Gilpin, 1782)
A variation is in jolly pin.
in seventh heaven Intensely happy, blissful, ecstatic. Muslims believe in a seven-tiered heaven—as did the ancient Jews and Babylonians, whose highest—or heaven of heavens—was the abode of God and the highest angels. The Muslims’ seventh heaven is ruled by Abraham and peopled by numberless mythical-type inhabitants ceaselessly chanting the praises of the Most High. The now common figurative use of the term appears as early as 1824 in the work of Sir Walter Scott.
like a dog with two tails Delighted, elated, overjoyed; pleased as punch; tickled pink. This expression refers to the fact that a dog shows its happiness by wagging its tail. By implication, if a dog had two tails, both of which were wagging, it would be safe to assume that the animal was very happy indeed.
Ned came in … looking scared. He was not at all like a dog with two tails. (P. H. Johnson, Impossible Marriage, 1954)
on cloud nine Blissful, euphoric; enraptured, transported. The precise origin of the term is unknown; it may have begun as a variation on and subsequent intensification of seventh heaven, since A Dictionary of American Slang cites the phrase on cloud seven—no longer heard—as having the same meaning. The same source also indicates that on a cloud is commonly used to mean ‘high,’ i.e., under the influence of narcotics. Being “on cloud nine” may be akin to being “way out” or “spaced out.”
I don’t like strange music, I’m not on Cloud Nine. (Down Beat, 1959)
pleased as Punch Very pleased or happy; delighted, elated, euphoric; tickled pink. This expression alludes to the cheerful singing and self-satisfaction which characterized the star of the “Punch and Judy” puppet show created by the Italian comedian Silvio Fiorillo in the early 1600s.
I am as pleased as Punch at the thought of having a kind of denizenship if nothing more, at Oxford. (James Lowell, Letters, 1873)
The expression persists in contemporary usage, perhaps most notably as one of the favorite sayings of Hubert Humphrey (1911-78) during his political career as Senator and Vice President.
slaphappy See FATUOUSNESS.
tickled pink Delighted, elated, glad. This common expression alludes to the convulsive laughter as well as the pink skin tone produced by excessive tickling.
tickled to death Very happy, highly pleased, delighted, thrilled.
They stopped as if they were tickled to death to see her. (Jonathan Slick, High Life in New York, 1844)
This expression is a simple combination of two earlier components: to tickle ‘to please, to excite agreeably’ plus the intensifier to death ‘to an extreme degree, thoroughly.’
with bells on Dressed up and in high spirits; ready for a good time. The phrase may come from the following Mother Goose Rhyme:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, To see a fine woman upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.
|Noun||1.||elation - an exhilarating psychological state of pride and optimism; an absence of depression|
mental condition, mental state, psychological condition, psychological state - (psychology) a mental condition in which the qualities of a state are relatively constant even though the state itself may be dynamic; "a manic state"
high - a state of altered consciousness induced by alcohol or narcotics; "they took drugs to get a high on"
high - a state of sustained elation; "I'm on a permanent high these days"
depression - a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity
|2.||elation - a feeling of joy and pride|