Meaning of “Happy Birthday in Arrears”

Happy birthday in arrears is a common term used to celebrate birthdays. But do you know what it means or do you just say it because you heard others use the same phrase? In this article, we will explain the meaning of happy birthday in arrears and any other information you should know.

What is “Happy Birthday in Arrears”?

Before we look into the meaning of happy birthday in arrears, let’s see first understand what the word arrears means. As stated in the Oxford Dictionary, arrears means any money that is owed and should have been paid earlier. For example, her account is terribly in arrears.

From the above, we see that arrears are linked with being late. Hence, if you are wishing a friend a happy birthday in arrears, then his or her birthday has already passed and you missed it.

Examples of Happy “Birthday in Arrears” Greetings

  • Happy birthday in arrears dear! I wish you the best.
  • Although my wishes are late, my heart is with you. Cheers to the new year. Happy birthday in arrears!
  • Happy birthday in arrears, may this be a year of pleasant surprises.

Is it correct to say happy birthday in arrears?

Although this mode of greeting is commonly used, you might be in error as the statement is grammatically incorrect. If you use arrears this way, then you are misinterpreting the exact meaning of the word.

Instead of wishing someone a happy birthday in arrears, you can say belated happy birthday. This is widely accepted as correct (except for certain cultures that prefer a happy belated birthday).

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If you have been hearing people wish their loved ones happy birthday in arrears and you have been wondering what they mean by that, we hope we have helped you with that. But instead of sending birthday wishes in arrears, it is most preferable to say belated happy birthday.

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