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The meaning and origin of the expression: The more the merrier

The more the merrier

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'The more the merrier'?

The more people who are present, the better an occasion or situation (especially a party) will be.

What's the origin of the phrase 'The more the merrier'?

The proverbial saying 'the more the merrier' is first found in John Heywood's 1546 glossary A Dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe tongue:

Haue among you blynde harpers (sayd I.)
The mo the merier.

Heywood was well known at the Tudor court and was a relative of Sir Thomas More, with whom he performed plays. It doesn't seem likely from the context that Heywood was making a punning reference to More, but his text in Proverbs is frequently obscure so it is possible.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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