51 Ways to Say 'Happy Birthday'

By Carly Forsaith, updated on April 4, 2023

Do you want to know how to wish someone a happy birthday? You may be heading to someone's party, or you know a colleague is celebrating another year around the sun, and you want to make sure you know what to say when you get to the office.

In any case, you need to look no further because, in this article, you'll learn 51 different ways to say 'happy birthday.'

Formal Ways to Say 'Happy Birthday'

You may want to wish a happy birthday to someone at your organization - a colleague or your boss. Or perhaps it's your banker or mother-in-law, and you want to keep it formal.

For any of those situations, the following expressions will come in handy:

1. Many happy returns.

2. Happy birthday and many happy returns.

3. Best wishes on your birthday.

4. Wishing you all the best on your birthday.

5. I hope you have a fantastic birthday, boss.

6. Many happy returns of the day.

7. Many more happy returns.

8. Congratulations on another spin around the sun.

9. Happy birthday, sir.

10. I hope you have a wonderful day, Carol. Thanks for being an awesome receptionist.

11. Many happy returns to a fantastic mentor!

12. Happy birthday, Mrs. Smith.

Casual Ways to Say 'Happy Birthday'

What about if you want to keep it more casual? Say it's a friend who's celebrating their birthday, or maybe your other half or a colleague you're close to at work? You can use the following expressions for any of those scenarios.

13. Here's to another year around the sun.

14. Happy birthday, have a great day!

15. Happy birthday, let's celebrate.

16. Hey, it's your birthday! Let's party.

17. Happy birthday, dude; let's make it one to remember.

18. Enjoy your big day.

19. Another candle on the cake!

20. Happy birthday, champ.

21. Happy you day.

22. I'm glad you were born, buddy.

23. Happy birthday, mom. I love you.

Funny Ways to Say 'Happy Birthday'

Below are some funny jokes and puns you can tell the birthday person. But I recommend being selective about who you use these with, as some people could get offended. Ensure you reserve these for friends and family, and only those who aren't sensitive!

24. Damn, you're so old your first pet must have been a dinosaur!

25. Wow! This is the oldest you've ever been.

26. Today is all about you! Just like every other day.

27. At least you can save on electricity with the number of candles on your cake.

28. You survived another year; congrats!

29. Didn't we just celebrate your birthday like a year ago?

30. Of all the people I know, you are the one whose birthday is today.

31. Statistics show that the more birthdays you have, the longer you live.

32. Time flies when you're getting old.

33. Happy birthday! I can't wait to grow old together and terrorize the nursing home with our antics.

Other Ways to Say Happy Birthday in Writing

Some expressions are just too ceremonious to be used orally. For example, imagine saying out loud:

"Life is a journey of adventure and excitement! I hope you find a bit of wisdom along the way. Happy birthday!"

It's a bit much, isn't it?

But you can use it in writing.

If you're writing a birthday card, an email, or a social media post on their profile to someone whose birthday it is, you can use one of the following:

34. Sending birthday wishes for a wonderful year ahead.

35. Happy birthday to an amazing sister. I wish you all the best for a fantastic year ahead.

36. May your birthday be filled with joy and laughter.

37. Wishing you a day that is as special as you are.

38. Happy birthday to the funniest person I know. I'm so grateful to have you in my life.

39. I'm thinking of you on your birthday and wishing I could be there!

40. Best wishes on your special day.

41. Happy birthday! I hope you have a day filled with joy.

42. Wishing a very happy birthday to my dearest friend. I hope your day is amazing as you deserve.

43. Happy birthday and sorry I couldn't be there. I'll have a drink to your health today.

44. Wishing my other half as perfect a day as you are.

45. Happy birthday, kiddo. It's an absolute honor to have you as a son.

46. Many happy returns to my work wife. I couldn't do it without you!

47. I hope all your wishes come true. Happy birthday!

If you were writing a text message, it would be slightly different as you would write a shorter message. Plus, you might want to use an abbreviation for the phrase 'happy birthday' to keep it short and sweet.

Here are some examples:

48. Happy bday, mate! Have a fantastic day.

49. HBD friend, hope you have a good one.

50. Happy bday, dude; let's hang out soon!

51. HBD! Dinner's on me tonight.

Concluding Thoughts on Writing Happy Birthday

So there you have it! 51 different ways to wish someone a happy birthday. And, of course, you can mix many of these up, too, in which case you'll end up with even more.


  • Decide whether the situation calls for a casual or formal tone, and choose an appropriate wish based on that.
  • Use jokes and puns only with people you know won't get offended.
  • Keep the ceremonious wishes for your writing; they sound over the top when spoken out loud.

If you found this article helpful, check out our blog, where we have many more like this, plus several other topics, too.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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