Pleased as Punch: Origin and Meaning
As Pleased as Punch derives from the traditional Victorian puppet show characters, Punch and Judy. Punch is an evil and grotesque character who takes a great deal of pleasure out of inflicting pain or anguish on other people. Every time he does something horrible he is extremely happy and self-satisfied, making him one of the most malicious and sadist characters that has ever existed in puppet show history. In fact, this crazy-eyed, hook-nosed character ends up whacking his wife to death, but also his infant child, along with a policeman, a doctor, a lawyer and the Devil – all with a smile on his face. Nowadays, we cannot condone Punch’s behaviour, but the idiom is still in use and is indirectly linked to the pleasure Punch got from being wicked.
– “Your mum will be as pleased as Punch when she sees the car you bought her for her birthday!”
– “The President was jailed for 10 years for accepting bribes. Everyone was as pleased as Punch when he was locked up and put away for good!”