I'm editing a document written by someone who grew up in the UK, which contains the phrase "We'll quote you happy". That doesn't parse for me (I grew up in New Zealand), but a quick search about the web suggests it is used with regard to cars or car insurance in the UK, and thus might derive from an advertisement that I have not seen.

Is there a specific meaning? Would I be advised to leave it as-is or change it?

  • 1
    It was a "quirky" usage first coined/popularised by Norwich Union Direct (Insurance) in the UK in 2004. I still fondly recall the (to me, rather attractive) voice of the girl who used to read the voiceover on the tv ads. The "quirkiness" has worn off for me because of repeated exposure, though as Mark says, the basic format is used with other more familiar expressions. But I wouldn't use it in anything remotely "formal". Aug 22, 2012 at 13:56
  • I'm thinking it is a play on the phrase "Well color me happy" and related.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Aug 22, 2012 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


It instantly brings to my (UK-born) mind the car insurance company that uses (or used to use) the quote. I'd change it, unless it's deliberately being used to allude to that insurance company. It also might be trademarked.

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    +1 for changing it: my American-born head can't parse this phrase no matter how I twist it about.
    – Marthaª
    Aug 22, 2012 at 13:35
  • It's certainly an ugly turn of phrase.
    – Spinner
    Aug 22, 2012 at 13:36
  • A quick Google suggests it's common parlance. If the company you have in mind is Aviva, I don't see them displaying the phrase with a trademark. But as you say, caution is advisable. Aug 22, 2012 at 13:49
  • Yes, Aviva (though I think the quote dates from the Norwich Union days). I don't know if the phrase itself is trademarked, although quotemehappy.com is trademarked. I'd just steer clear through not wanting to be associated with them!
    – Spinner
    Aug 22, 2012 at 14:02

"We'll quote you happy" has the same form as "We'll make you happy", "We'll tickle you pink", or "We'll shoot you dead", i.e.:

"We'll (transitive verb) (direct object of verb) (attribute adjective, state of direct object as a result of transitive verb)"

However, "quote" is not usually a transitive verb so this phrase is confusing.


It's from Norwich Union's "Quote Me Happy" adverts, from 2003. It means they'll give you an insurance quote that will make you happy.

The phrase was registered as a UK trademark in 2003, is still valid, and owned by Aviva Insurance Limited (the new name since 2009 for Norwich Union), so you're best off not using it in anything work-related, especially nothing related to insurance or financial services.

  • +1 for actually explaining the meaning of the verb "to quote" in the context of insurance, which isn't trivial in any sense. Aug 22, 2012 at 15:11

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