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many happy returns

Also,many happy returns of the day. Happy birthday and many more of them, as in I came by to wish you many happy returns. This expression was first recorded in a letter of 1779 where the writer meant “Happy New Year,” but the present meaning has persisted since the second half of the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Examples from the Web for many happy returns
Historical Examples
  • And they requested me to wish you, on behalf of the firm, many happy returns of the day.'

    A Great Man Arnold Bennett
  • "many happy returns of the day," says I, handing it to the Boss.

    Shorty McCabe Sewell Ford
  • On the card, written in ink, was "many happy returns of the day!"

    The Rich Little Poor Boy Eleanor Gates
  • many happy returns,—not of the pig, but of the New Year, to both!

  • I made the cake myself, and wish you many happy returns of the day.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • I wish you many happy returns of the—eh—no—I congratulate you.

    The Schoolmistress Arthur W. Pinero
  • We wish you many happy returns of the day, for this and more we ever pray.

    Wilford Woodruff Matthias F. Cowley
  • When I wished her many happy returns she shrank, as if I had hurt her.

    An Unknown Lover Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • I can at least wish you many happy returns of the day and will drink to your health on the 27th.

    Julia Ward Howe Laura E. Richards
  • I was going to wish her many happy returns, when she lifted her stick.

    Great Expectations Charles Dickens

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