As Pleased As Punch

Meaning of “As Pleased as Punch”

The phrase “as pleased as punch” means to show extreme happiness or pride in achieving a task. The word punch has been derived from a 16th-century puppet character, Mr. Punch. Surprisingly, Mr. Punch’s character had negative traits. He was delighted in his evil works, which was beating other characters to death. Currently, the phrase is mostly used to express when someone is pleased.

Origin of “As Pleased as Punch”

The phrase “as pleased as punch” is stated to have originated from the character of Mr. Punch. However, its origin is probably Italian, as mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his diary published in 1666 where he has stated “Polichinello” in the same meanings. This word, then, transformed into the phrase “as pleased as punch” as recorded in The Baviad and Maeviad of William Gifford. This satirical work published in 1797 mentions it as; Oh! how my fingers itch to pull thy nose! As pleased as Punch, I’d hold it in my gripe.” Since then the phrase has become highly popular, while Charles Dickens had further popularized it when he used it in David Copperfield as “I am as proud as Punch” and then again in Hard Times as “Her father was as pleased as Punch.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Happy End by Kate Tempest

Dale and Pete
Were in a pile of trainers and feet
Clenched fists and black eyes and chipped teeth
Their dads had tried
To get in-between them
It was like they couldn’t wait to get involved
Graham was beating David’s skull with his elbows
David was kneeing Graham’s nether regions
And Miriam was at the bar weeping
Ron was pleased as punch
With the outcome of the evening
While Becky, Harry and Leon headed for the beyond

The above lines are about a few two boys who are engaged in a brawl. They punch and thrash each other, while others trying who try to stop and get into the fight too. Ron who was perhaps watching the others find was happy at the end of the end fight. The phrase is used to describe his content on seeing the fight in progress.

Example #2

The Romance and the Ugly Policeman by P. G. Wodehouse

‘Miss, ‘he said, ‘I’ll be there, if I have to sit up all night. The first thing you’ll see when they open the doors is a great, ugly, red-faced copper with big feet and a broken nose. And if you’ll say “Hello” to him when he says “Hello” to you, he’ll be as pleased as Punch and as proud as a duke. And, miss’ – he clenched his hands till the nails hurt the leathern flesh – ‘and, miss, there’s just one thing more I’d like to say. You’ll be having a good deal of time to yourself for awhile; you’ll be able to do a good bit of time to yourself for awhile; you’ll be able to do a good bit of thinking without anyone to disturb you.

The story helps the readers lighten their moods. The author has used this phrase in the above passage. The narrator, Constable Plimmer has arrested Ellen after being called by her employer. While the constable wants to let her go, Ellen tells him to do his job and arrest her. Hence, in the above lines, he explains how to behave at the jail. He uses the phrase to describe the jailor, who is ‘pleased’ when someone greets him ‘hullo’.

Example #3

Doorways by John McGarhen

‘I hope getting the digs didn’t put you to a great deal of trouble,’ I said. ‘No. The old birds were pleased as punch. Ordinarily it’s full, but this time they’ve always rooms because of people gone on holidays.’

The ‘old birds’ were two sisters in their fifties who owned the big stone house down by the harbor where Jimmy had digs and where I had come on holiday. A brother was a Monsignor in California had brought it for them. I had never seen before walls so completely laden with cribs and religious pictures. There was the usual smell of digs, of cooking and feet and sweat, the sharp scent of HP sauce, the brown bottle on every lino-covered table.

The narrator talks about two old sisters to whom he calls old birds. He recalls his experience while living with them. Also, the two sisters were very pleased to see the narrator. He uses their phrase to describe their cheerful attitude.

Example #4

Boxing: Pleased as punch after all these years by Alan Hubbard from The Independent published on December 16, 2001

This headline is taken from, The Independent shows that happiness of the lovers of boxing. The reporter Alan Hubbard has described the boxing duo of Muhammad and Will Smith. He details their career and life achievements. The phrase is used in the headline to show the happiness of the public.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “Joanna was as pleased as punch when she saw her grades. She was the class topper for that term.”

Example #2: “People in cold countries are as pleased as a punch when the summer arrives.”

Example #3: “One minute Haroon was as pleased as a punch, and then next he was sad because he lost his wallet.”

Example #4: “Daisy was as pleased as a punch when George announced their holiday.”

Example #5: “You can be as pleased as a punch when you win the game or be as mad as a bull.”