As pleased as Punch

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As pleased as Punch is an idiom from the late 1700s that is still used today. The capitalization of the word Punch is a big hint as to the term’s origin. We will examine the meaning of as pleased as Punch, where the phrase comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

As pleased as Punch means to feel a great sense of delight. The phrase is derived from the Punch and Judy puppet shows that were popular during the 1700s and 1800s in Europe and Great Britain and are still occasionally seen. The character of Punch has his roots in the puppet Polichinello, created in the sixteenth century by Italian Commedia dell’arte. Punch is always depicted as evil. He beats his baby to death, as well as his wife, a policeman, and various other characters. After each of his murders, Punch is very pleased with himself and declares “That’s the way to do it!” The original phrase derived from this disturbing puppet show was as proud as Punch, in time it evolved into as pleased as Punch. The name Punch in the phrase should be capitalized, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, as time goes on the origins of the term are being forgotten, and the phrase is more often rendered as pleased as punch, omitting the capitalization of the name Punch.


While I was as pleased as Punch you heeded my advice that no thing beats the modern marvel that is a de-escalating staircase when it comes to making a dramatic entrance, I was perturbed not to have received so much as a memorandum of gratitude ahead of your campaign’s initiation. (D Magazine)

Whenever I came home, he would announce: Sonia, look who’s here, Mrs. Valden,” as pleased as punch. (The Times of Israel)