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17 May. When should I use the English phrase “over the moon?”

This is a very commonly used English expression in daily conversations. To find out more about the origin and meaning read below!


The expression is used to denote a high degree of happiness. Someone will say they are over the moon in a number of situations an example of which could be upon receiving a birthday gift which they really like. 


The expression began to be used over a century ago although it has only become commonplace in the last 30 or 40 years. One of the most famous uses of the phrase comes from the popular children’s nursery rhyme which rather than using it in the metaphorical sense used it in a literal sense. The rhyme reads; “High diddle diddle, The Cat and the Fiddle, The Cow jump’d over the Moon, The little dog laugh’d to see such Craft, And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.” It is uncertain exactly when this nursery rhyme was first invented but it is suggested that it was during the 18th century.

The increase in usage stemmed from the use of the phrase in the 1970s by football managers after a game in which their team had performed well and won. The popularisation of television enabled these interviews to be broadcasted to a large audience and as a result many more people heard this phrase and began to use it in other circumstances in their own lives.

After some time the print media then began to employ the phrase and it was the use of the phrase in the magazine Private Eye which really cemented the phrase into the English language.


An example of the use of this expression can be found in the 1718 work The Coquet, or, The English Chevalier by Charles Molloy which reads “Tis he! I know him now: I shall jump over the Moon for Joy!”

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