Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Episode 170: Jump for Joy Show Notes

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Bunny Trails: A Word History Podcast

Episode 170: Jump for Joy

Record Date: October 14, 2022

Air Date: October 19, 2022



Welcome to Bunny Trails, a whimsical adventure of idioms and other turns of phrase. 

I’m Dan Pugh


And I’m Shauna Harrison

Each week we take an idiom or other turn of phrase and try to tell the story from its entry into the English language, to how it’s used today.

Opening Hook

Have you ever been so excited that you felt like you couldn’t physically contain all of your happy? Maybe after hearing that you were selected for the job you’ve been trying to get for months. Perhaps you’ve just received the news that your mom is cancer free. I always think of couples getting engaged or married. There is always a moment when their joy exceeds their ability to keep it all in and sometimes they literally jump for joy!


What does this expression mean? 

Jump for Joy means to be very pleased about something.

Oxford English Dictionary tells us, 


To move with a sudden involuntary jerk as the result of excitement or of a nervous shock; to start. to jump for joy, said literally of children, etc., also figurative to be joyfully excited. 

End quote 

Sometimes a phrase surprises me when I learn how long it’s been in use. This phrase seems so simple in concept that almost any time frame made sense to me. Well, this time my surprise had nothing to do with the century it started in but rather a phrase that turns out to be a precursor to Jump for Joy. In addition to the definition we just read, Oxford English Dictionary includes the reference to another phrase that was around when ours started to show up - to jump out of one's skin

Okay, I’ve heard someone say something similar as in 

I about jumped out of my skin!

However, when I heard that phrase, the person was always saying that they had been startled or scared to an extreme degree. Definitely not that they were overjoyed.

Let’s have a look. 

According to the OED, 


to jump (also leap) out of one's skin.

(a) To feel extreme delight or excitement; to be full of joy or high spirits. Also occasionally to be out of one's skin. Now rare.

End quote 

At this point, I was still questioning. Right? I was like the kid at the spelling bee who still has decided that the word they’ve been given is even a word at all. … Um yes, could you use it in a sentence, please? 

As a matter of fact, yes. We can use this in a sentence. 

Thanks to the Gutenberg Project, I was able to access the text for a work by William Painter which was published in 1567 titled, The palace of pleasure beautified


Master Philippo, was so well pleased, as he was like to leape out of his skin for ioy.

End Quote 

Not a lot of confusion there… he was so pleased. We’ll leave it at that. I did find another interesting excerpt from the same text. 


He that marched not but vpon one foote, and burned with Loue, and whose harte leapte for ioye, and daunced for gladnesse, thought that he had nowe obteined the toppe of his felicitie, and the whole effect of his desire: sodainly he cast away the dispaire of his former conceiptes, obiecting him selfe to the daunger wherin he was to bee ouerwhelmed, if the Ladie accepted not his request with good digestion.

End Quote

Yeah, so in this case his heart leapt for joy. Now, I wish I had better news about how things worked out for this gentleman. I was curious so I read a little more of the text. It turns out that this dude was the steward in a household and he was headed to speak to his master’s wife about being together because he was so in love with her. She threatens to throw him to the Lions. So, not a mutual thing going there. 

Now, we could say that heart leapt for joy is the likely origin of jump for joy and there is some argument to be made for it. However, use of this seemed to fall out of favor and then pick back up again later. 

I found something very close to our phrase in 1604. This is from the work

The Tragicall History of D. Faustus...

By Christopher Marlowe · The title page reads, 


End Quote

The excerpt is from the notes section for one of the acts in the play, suggesting how the actors may have performed the scene. 


End quote 

Now, this certainly paints the picture of someone jumping and it does say for joy. This seems to be a recommendation from a director of sorts. Is the character supposed to actually have joy or is he a sort of jester, displaying false joy on command? 

It does exclude one’s skin and has no mention of anyone’s heart, but it’s not quite there yet as the phrase is split throughout the sentence. 

To find our phrase in its entirety, we’ll move forward to the late 1600’s. The earliest occurrence I found in print is from 

The Works of Sir William D'avenant, Knight: Consisting of Those which Were Formerly Printed, and Those which He Design'd for the Press: Now Published Out of the Authors Originall Copies.

By William D'Avenant · 1673. These works were translated and that individual did get to write a brief forward, however, it was singed merely, “The Translator”. So D’Avenant is getting all the credit on this one. 

Jump for Joy is found in the section, Poems on Several Occasions Never Before Printed. This section of the book was printed in 1672. Back in the day, it sometimes took some compiling before a full book was published. 

The excerpt reads,


End quote 

In the early 1700s, the phrase was in use in regular print items like theater productions, poems, and newspaper articles. 

Select Comedies of Monsieur de Molière · was written by Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière. Select Comedies was published in 1732. The cover page reads,


End Quote

The part we are looking at is a moment during a hunt. Going on a hunt was a pretty big deal at the time of the story. 


End quote 

The phrase has been in use ever since. 

Alexandria gazette & daily advertiser March 27, 1821 edition out of Alexandria, Virginia

In a section, 


End Quote 

Daily inter mountain. [volume], July 21, 1900, Page 14, Image 14

About Daily inter mountain. [volume] (Butte, Mont.) 1881-1901


End quote 

Montana farmer-stockman. [volume], November 01, 1956, Image 24

About Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993


End quote 

We’ll get to our modern examples, right after we take a moment to say thank you to our sponsors. 

A Quick Thank You


This episode is sponsored by our amazing Patrons on Patreon.

You can help support this educational artform and get awesome perks along the way! Tiers start at $3 a month, which get you our polls and community-only discussions, early access to the podcast, and the behind the scenes video for each episode so you can watch along as we make the show. 

At $10 you’ll also get original digital artwork from Shauna once a month featuring exclusive art about an idiom or other turn of phrase. At $15, you’ll also get personal on-air recognition like Pat Rowe does every episode. And of course huge thanks goes to the top spot among our Patrons, our Dean of Learning, Mary Halsig-Lopez. Thank you so much to Mary and all of our patrons. 

If you want to help create Bunny Trails week after week, whatever your budget, we are bunnytrailspod on Patreon. 


Modern Uses

"Jump for Joy" is a 1996 song recorded by Belgian/Dutch Eurodance band 2 Unlimited, released as the second single from their greatest hits compilation album, Hits Unlimited.[1] It was a Top 10 hit in the Netherlands and Spain. 


Everybody jump jump

Jump for joy

Everybody jump jump

Everybody jump jump

Jump for joy!

I wanna jump for joy, J-O-Y

'Cause Cupid shot your arrow in the sky

You know the feeling, jumping and screaming

Here come the angels marked by demons

You must be dreaming, your heart is steaming

Forget the pain and start believing

Peace and love surrounding Earth

Respect to my mum who gave me birth

Butterflies are moving fast

Is this the last love look of last

Heavier as ever, rhymes quite clever

Respect to the world, it's time for whatever

End Quote 

Jump for Joy

Author: Pam Holden , Illustrator: Elise Smith


Can you jump? Most animals can jump too. Some can jump up high and some can jump over things. Which ones are the best jumpers? Why? 

My Name is Earl    "Jump for Joy"    Chris Koch    Vali Chandrasekaran    September 28, 2006    2ALJ03    8.1


Earl and Randy ask Catalina to return to her old job at the strip club, but they don't tell her that they need her to do it so that club owner Richard Chubby (Burt Reynolds) will pay for Joy's bail.

End Quote 

When Catalina does find out about Joy's bail she angrily rejects it. So Joy performs at Club Chubby for her bail but, to calm her nerves, drinks so much that she throws up on the audience. Catalina sees how stressed out Earl is and takes back her job, saying, "When I jump, I jump for Earl; I would never jump for Joy."

Jumping for Joy: The History of Platform Video Games: Including Every Mario and Sonic Platformer


 The platformer is one of the most well-loved video game genres ever, having entertained players for over 40 years. Jumping For Joy is a celebration of everything platform games have to offer, spanning their entire history. The first part of the book is a complete guide to every platform game starring Mario, Nintendo’s mascot and the most popular video game character of all time. With nearly 80 games featured in this section, it’s the definitive history of a true gaming hero. There are always two sides to every story, though, so the second part of the book focuses on every one of the 50+ platformers starring Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario’s former rival. After this it’s the book’s main course: a huge 100-page section detailing 50 other iconic and notable platform games covering the entire history of gaming, from the days of the Atari 2600 and ZX Spectrum all the way up to the Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Whether you’re a long-time veteran of platform gaming or a newcomer who wants to learn more about one of the most entertaining genres in video games, this is the perfect book for you. And there are some bad jokes in there too, if that’s your thing.

End Quote 

Jumping For Joy: The History of Platform Video Games Review (BOOK) – Platforming Perfection

Ross Keniston August 24, 2022 6 min read 

Jump Of Joy

by Dagmar Helbig

Jump for Joy Painting - Munleen Sibia - United Kingdom

Palette knife painting.

Acrylic on canvas.

Original Created:2013





Wrap Up

As far as I’m concerned, phrases about happiness will never get old. There is sadness and pain and loss in the world all the time and most of it is out of our control. I think we have more control over the way we feel in between the pain. We can add more joy. We can share our joy with others and be a source of their joy. I love this phrase. If you’re happy, if things are good. Let that good be loud. Be joyous. If you get the chance… jump for joy. 


That’s all we have time for today. If you have any thoughts on the show, or pop culture references we should have included, reach out to us on social media where we are @bunnytrailspod, or comment on our website


Poll time! 

In a recent poll, we asked Patrons, 

When do you prefer to drink your caffeine?

40% of our patrons said they drink it all day and another 40% said they avoid caffeine or only rarely drink it. 

Then another 20% said they drink caffeine throughout the day, but stop at a certain point so that it doesn’t affect their sleep. Which seems very responsible of them. 

Charlie said:


Can’t stop, won’t stop. I feel no shame. Caffeine in all forms. But also, I have the ADHDs so it’s not really the same. 

I always wondered why I could drink 8 shots of espresso in a 5 hour shift at the coffee shop. Turns out my brain is weird. XD

End Quote

Mary added:


All day and before bed if I can’t sleep. Yeah. It relaxes me that much. 

End Quote

Shauna, how about you?



Caffeine is probably my biggest vice. I quit drinking Energy Drinks back in 2018, but I still drink coffee, tea, and diet soda. I usually drink caffeinated drinks all day, though it changes throughout the day. Coffee in the morning is common - and we almost always have a pitcher of unsweetened ice tea in the fridge.

If you want to take part in our silly polls and sometimes learn new things while you’re at it, head over to to see what we have this week!



Thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you again next week. Until then remember, 


Words belong to their users. 

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