Definition of happy family in US English:

happy family


  • 1A family living together harmoniously (frequently as a conventional description). Also figurative: a group characterized by high morale, team spirit, etc.

  • 2A collection of diverse animals (or fish) living together in harmony in one cage (or tank, etc.), especially one exhibited as a curiosity.

  • 3In plural A children's card game played with a pack of special cards, each card depicting on its face a member of a ‘family’ of four.

  • 4Australian. Either of two songbirds that typically occur in small groups: the apostlebird or grey jumper, Struthidea cinerea (family Corcoracidae), and the grey-crowned babbler, Pomatostomus temporalis (family Pomatostomidae). In later use also: any Australasian babbler of the family Pomatostomidae.


  • one (also a) (great) big happy family

    • : a group of people who coexist happily and harmoniously and work towards the same goals (sometimes ironic); also in extended use.

  • to play happy families

    • : to behave like a harmonious, contented family, especially only as a pretence; also in extended use.


Mid 16th century. From happy + family.