Darby and Joan


      • describe a devoted and loving elderly couple
        To refer to a pair of elderly individuals, typically married, who are deeply in love and devoted to one another. Can also be used to describe a long-lasting marriage.

      • describe a dull or uneventful relationship or marriage
        To suggest that a relationship or marriage lacks excitement or passion, often due to the couple's advanced age and long-term companionship.

      • describe a happy and contented couple
        To convey a sense of contentment and satisfaction in a romantic relationship, typically used in a positive context to describe a couple who have been together for a long time and are still deeply in love.

    Examples of Darby and Joan

    • Joan and Darby had been married for over fifty years before Darby passed away, and now Joan feels like she's lost her better half. She says that it's like half of her has been taken away.

      'Darby and Joan' is a 19th century English nursery rhyme about a happily married elderly couple. The virtual equivalent of this phrase is 'better half', suggesting that Joe was Joan's other, more perfect, half. Now that he is gone, she feels like half of her is missing, emphasizing the strength of their bond and their dependence on each other.

    • Joan and Darby's marriage was the epitome of a harmonious, "Darby and Joan" friendship, built on years of shared memories and experiences.

      The term 'Darby and Joan' has become a colloquial phrase that refers to a perfect, loving relationship between a married couple, characterized by a strong bond of companionship. In this context, it is being used to describe the ideal friends jokingly exaggerated to appear like 'perfect couple' depicting picture perfect harmony and mutual companionship.

    • Joan and Darby's marriage had been the envy of many couples, as Darby used to lovingly say, "Joan is like the moon, and I am the night sky" and Joan used to teasingly say, "Without Darby, I am like the sky without the night" every night before they slept. Their marriage had been like a cycle of day and night, in perfect equilibrium.

      Here, the husband and wife are being compared to the moon and the night sky, respectively. Their marriage is portrayed as a beautiful cycle of completeness, where they complement each other like night and day. This comparison again highlights the strength and interdependence of their relationship, illustrating how well they looked after and completed each other.

    • Joan used to indulge in Darby's routine of an ice-cream in the evening as Darby used to say, "A marriage is like an ice-cream, you have to take a lick here and there, but don't ever forget to share it with your partner." Now, Joan feels guilty that she is eating ice-cream alone and is missing half of her "ice-cream".

      This example refers to the age-old tradition of couples sharing their dessert, which is frequently compared to sharing half of a sweet with someone. The speaker here illustrates how her marriage, like an ice-cream, was shared between the two partners, and eating an ice-cream now brings about memories of sharing the same dessert with her husband. This petite comparison yet again underlines the strong bond between the couple, where every little experience, good or bad, reminds her of her other half.

    • John and Sarah have been married for over 50 years. They are true examples of "Darby and Joan".

      This idiom refers to an older married couple who are devoted to each other and have a strong bond. The phrase "Darby and Joan" originated from a popular English folk song from the 19th century. The song depicted a husband named Darby and his wife Joan, both of whom were married for long and happy years until Darby passed away. The phrase "Darby and Joan" came to be commonly used to describe romantic couples who enjoy a loving, contented and long-lasting marriage.

    • The elderly couple sitting on the bench was the perfect picture of "Darby and Joan".

      In this example, the phrase "Darby and Joan" is used as a simile to describe an elderly couple who are devoted to each other.

    • The way he looked at her melted my heart. They are the quintessential examples of "Darby and Joan"!

      This example is a bit different from the previous ones. Here the phrase "Darby and Joan" is not directly used to describe the couple, but rather a statement made about them, which reinforces the fact that the couple is extremely devoted and loving towards each other, in this case, bringing out an emotional response from the speaker.

    • After thirty-five years of marriage, they still hold hands, just like "Darby and Joan" used to.

      This example equates a couple's behavior to that of "Darby and Joan". It suggests that the couple has been married for a long time, and they still love and care for each other, just like "Darby and Joan". The phrase "Darby and Joan" is used symbolically, to suggest that the couples' long-lasting marriage is a result of the same kind of devotion, kindness, love and companionship that is associated with "Darby and Joan".


    The idiom "Darby and Joan" is primarily used to describe a devoted and loving elderly couple who have been together for a long time. It can also be used to describe a dull or uneventful relationship or marriage, as well as a happy and contented couple. Overall, the idiom conveys a sense of long-lasting love and companionship.

    Origin of "Darby and Joan"

    The phrase "Darby and Joan" originated from a popular ballad written by English poet Henry Woodfall in 1735. The ballad tells the story of an elderly couple named Darby and Joan who are deeply in love and devoted to one another despite their old age and financial struggles. The ballad became widely known and was often sung in public houses, eventually leading to the phrase becoming a popular idiom to describe a loving and committed couple.

    The idiom has also been linked to the real-life couple John and Joan Darby, who were known in the 18th century for their devoted and happy marriage. Their story further solidified the meaning of "Darby and Joan" as a representation of a successful and loving long-term relationship.

    In modern usage, the idiom is often used in a lighthearted or nostalgic manner to describe a couple who have been together for a long time, but it can also carry a hint of pity towards the couple's old age and lack of excitement in their relationship.