One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: England characterized by its pleasant landscape, etc. Later (frequently humorous or ironic): England characterized by the robust cheerfulness of its people, especially in an imagined past golden age (often identified with Elizabethan times).
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Cursor Mundi: a Northumbrian poem of the 14th century. From merry + the name of England.
Merry England/ˌmɛrɪ ˈɪŋɡlənd/
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