since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
Get Word of the Day FREE

many happy returns

This page is about the conversational phrase many happy returns


This is used to wish someone happiness on their birthday.

For example

  • At my birthday dinner, Dad held up his glass and said, "Many happy returns, son."

  • Emma didn't want anyone else to know it was her birthday, so she told me not to say "Many happy returns".

Can also be written on a birthday card, a note, an SMS, a tweet, etc.

Quick Quiz

You can say "Many happy returns" to

a. anyone at a birthday party

b. someone on your birthday

c. someone on their birthday

Contributor: Matt Errey