Definitions for Many happy returns
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Many happy returns
"Many happy returns" is a greeting which is used by some on birthdays, and by others in response to "Happy New Year". The term itself refers to the passing year. Since the 18th century this has been used as a salutation to offer the hope that a happy day being marked would recur many more times. It is now primarily used, by some, on birthdays. Prior to the mid 19th century it was used more generally, at any celebratory or festive event. The phrase is more common in British English and Indian English than in American English. Current usage is often as a more formal option than 'Happy Birthday'. It is also often to be found on greetings cards. Its earliest attributable use was by Lady Newdigate in a letter written in 1789 er The letter is written in London on the 31st of May 1789 by Lady Hester Margaretta Mundy Newdigate to her husband, Sir Roger Newdigate, 5th Baronet, and refers to a wish for their wedding day. A much earlier reference is found in Addison's The Free-Holder: An alternative explanation is that "returns" here is used in the sense of "yield" or "profit" that it is still found in "investment returns". Therefore "many happy returns of the day" would be a wishing a person a rewarding day, full of happiness. This use has been traced back to Joseph Addison in 1716.
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"Many happy returns." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 17 Sep. 2014. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/Many happy returns>.