Happy Camper

Meaning of Idiom ‘Happy Camper’

A happy camper is someone who is happy in their situation; a contented or satisfied person. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002

English Idioms About Happiness Video:

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Examples Of Use

“Give me a beer and a good movie to watch and I’m a happy camper.”

“My new blender arrived broken and the company is refusing to let me return it or give me a refund. It goes without saying I am not a happy camper.”


This idiom has been used since the later 1800s, at least as early as 1885. We can only speculate as to its origin. It is thought to have derived from children’s camps, alluding to the fact that while some children absolutely adore going to ‘summer camp,’ others are miserable and homesick. Thus there are happy campers and unhappy campers and the camp counselor’s job is to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time. Since being away from home at camp is a specific situation, this idiom alludes to being happy, or not happy, as the case may be, with one’s circumstances or situation. Many other suggestions as to the origin of this idiom have been made, such as television shows, most of them failing to take into account the early origin of the expression.

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