Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
As I remember it, the grinning character of Punch, from the Punch and Judy show, triumphs over his wife, the hangman, animals and ghosts by a combination of trickery and blows to the head with a stick. Hence the expression, as pleased as Punch. Punch and Judy shows are rare these days, leaving some to fill the referent vacuum with the expression “as pleased as punched”. My first guess is that it is understood as ‘more pleased than punched’. Or maybe, hit with the happy stick. Delirious with pleasure.
The simbling “pleased as a punch” is most common in South Asia.
Some speaker might be hearing the punch that is a drink in place of the puppet. Perhaps that explains this doubly-comestible variation:
: “whilst i’m peased as punch to see butcherbirds in the air and i applaude the efforts of Flugwerke”
: “Congratulations on your lovly wee girl, I’m sure you’re as peased as punch ...”
: “DH was just peased as punch when I called him and let him know I needed to know where the water turn off valve was! ”
Speaking of punch, I wonder what percentage of people hear the beverage in the phrase “punch drunk?” It must be a hidden eggcorn for many.
Yes, as well as that other idiom, beat me to the punch.
Now that you mention it, here’s a variant that makes both pugilistic and hydrodynamic sense.