I have a confession to make: My English dictionary, Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (Unabridged), has failed me. I'm unhappy with its definitions of "happy." Here they are:
"Happy -- adj,. from Icelandic happ, good luck, chance, hap. 2. having, showing or causing a feeling of great pleasure, joy, contentment, etc., joyous; glad; pleased; satisfied. 3. exactly appropriate to the occasion; suitable and clever; felicitous; apt. 4. intoxicated or as if intoxicated; sometimes used in hyphenated combinations, as slap-happy (slang)."
But that's missing something -- as I noticed when I re-read the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew. The third verse reads "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
In French, that same verse reads "Heureux les pauvres en esprit, car le royaume des cieux est a eux!" Literally, that's "Happy the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven (or "the skies") is theirs!"
"Blessed" evidently shares a root with "happy" which isn't showing in my own dictionary. I've tried looking at some online dictionaries, but they fail me, too. Still, I think it's a connection worth defending, especially as "the holiday season" gets underway.
"Holiday" in itself has obvious roots -- holy day.
So smile when someone wishes you "Happy Holidays!" Take it as a blessing.
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