Tickled Pink—Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

You might have been so pleased about something that you were tickled pink at some point in your life. But did this phrase really leave you seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, or was it just a charming way to express the sheer joy and amusement you felt? Let’s unmask the story behind this colorful idiom.

Tickled Pink Meaning Explained

Tickled Pink Idiom Origin Meaning

When you’re tickled pink, you’re extremely pleased or amused with something. This phrase is meant to capture a state of joyful delight or extreme amusement, sometimes to the point of hysterical laughter.

The imagery here is of someone being tickled until they turn pink from laughing, but it’s not meant to be literal. Although, when we’re this pleased or amused, we tend to get rosy cheeks from heightened emotions or laughter.

I always think of my kids when I hear this expression. During their baby years, I’d tickle them just to hear that sweet baby squeal of delight, and their chubby little cheeks turned pink from laughing and smiling.

Origin and Etymology of the Phrase Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink Ngram
Tickled pink usage trend.

The idiomatic phrase tickled pink is relatively modern compared to most English idioms, and it originates from the United States.

It first appeared in print in the late 17th century, with tickled meaning pleased and pink referring to a rosy glow of delight. Samuel Hieron used it in his works back in 1617, with an excerpt that reads, “Well might they haue their eares ticled with some pleasing noise.”

But it wasn’t until the dawn of the 1900s that the phrase really took off.

What Is Another Word for Tickled Pink?

If you want to mix up your language while maintaining the same jovial spirit, consider these synonyms for tickled pink that will still paint the same picture.

  • Overjoyed
  • Thrilled
  • Delighted
  • Ecstatic
  • Enraptured

Tickled Pink Examples in a Sentence

Tickled Pink Idiom Origin Meaning 1

To help bring this phrase to life, let’s see how you can apply the phrase tickled pink to full sentences.

  • Sarah was tickled pink when she saw the unexpected surprise party her friends had planned for her big twenty-one.
  • Our kiddos were tickled pink when they learned we were going to Disney World next year.
  • I was tickled pink when I discovered my favorite author was releasing a new book after releasing nothing for nearly ten years.
  • I can’t believe my book is being turned into a movie! I’m tickled pink!
  • What did Mark say when you told him you were pregnant? I bet he was tickled pink!
  • I’m tickled pink just thinking of having grandkids one day.

Tickle, Tickle

So, to be tickled pink is to be overcome with happiness and/or amusement about something that’s happened or is about to happen. This charming idiom adds a dash of color to your expressions of glee and delight, proving that the English language, like life itself, can sometimes be rosy. So, the next time you’re beaming with joy, remember, you’re just tickled pink!

Want to know more idioms? Check out some others we covered: