Happy-clappy


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Happy clappy'?

A disparaging name for the form of Christian religious observance which is informal, musical and spontaneous.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Happy clappy'?

The term came into use in the 1980s. It is applied especially to aficionados of the Toronto Blessing form of worship. It seems to have originated in South Africa. The earliest citation I can find of the term in print is from the Australian newspaper The Age, April 1985:

Two brands of Christianity making themselves felt today are the “born again” kind and the happy-clappy, tongues-speaking, faith-healing kind called Pentecostal.

Trend of happy – clappy in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.