Funny birthday wishes for 40-year-olds | Wonderbly Blog (2024)

Turning 40 is a universally recognised milestone that seems designed to give even the most self-assured adult a bit of a wobble. This is definitely middle age, people. But you don’t have to greet it with despondent cliches and jokes about things going south. You can wish your nearest and dearest a happy 40th by saying something both humorous and original. Here are some suggestions from us, for when you want to share some funny happy 40th birthday wishes.

For your husband/wife/ partner

We hate to say it, but there seems to be a distinct lack of decent fortieth greeting cards in the shops. Of course, you could make them a card (10/10 for effort) or go online and get one printed (we’d give that 5/10) OR you could deliberately choose one of those uninspiring cards and use its lacklustre appearance to make your greeting seem better by comparison.

Here’s an example to kick us off:

“Sorry, this is the nicest card I could find in the petrol station on my way here.”

Alternatively, you could use the opportunity to poke some gentle fun at your loved one. Something like this, maybe:

“You look a lot older than in our wedding photos, but don’t I look great?”

“I see that skincare advice I gave you at 30 has fallen on deaf ears.”

“Happy birthday, I love you, but please don’t get drunk because I can’t stand you hungover.”

Feel free to adapt any of these suggestions to suit your other half. Because who doesn’t want to be the butt of the joke on their birthday? They know you love them really.

Funny birthday wishes for 40-year-olds | Wonderbly Blog (1)

For your best friend

Your oldest pal, your forever friend, your silliest workmate: these are the kinds of people who should forgive you any rudeness in a birthday card because you’ve probably said far worse in person. So don’t hold back. You might, for example, want to make a direct reference to your respective ages and say something like:

“Look, at least you’ll always be younger than me,” or “Sorry not sorry I’m still younger than you.” (And if you’re writing the second of these two greeting options with a smirk on your face, hold that thought, sunshine: someone’s going to be writing you a 40th birthday card soon enough.)

If you are a similar age, you could soften the blow by also referring to your own advancing years. We’re sure a quick scan of your chequered past will reveal plenty of options along these lines, but here are a few to start you off:

“I think we’re too old to drink slippery nipples now (although it’s more fun when it’s socially unacceptable.)”

“Did you know we’ve been using emojis all wrong for at least 5 years? Yeah, I don’t care either.”

“Our fashion style is now so outdated we’ve nailed the 90s yearbook trend by accident.”

We also like the simple but to-the-point “Happy birthday, you geriatric millennial.”

For siblings or family members

Close family members may not appreciate sarcasm-slash-rudeness as much as those who have actively chosen to spend time with you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still inject a bit of humour. For example:

“Happy birthday [older sibling]. You may have lost every childhood argument, but you’re winning at this ageing business.”

If you’re feeling brave, you could use the occasion of their 40th to allude to a particularly memorable moment from your shared history. For example:

“Please will you give me back my Kurt Geiger shoes/ black leather belt/ Offspring CD now. I know you still have them/ it/ (yes I know nobody owns a CD player anymore but it’s the principle).”

Alternatively, a reference to a cultural milestone you both loved when you were growing up – a favourite book, movie or TV show – is a way of acknowledging your shared history, without being too soppy or personal. See:

“Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel got upset over Chandler’s choice of birthday card? Yeah, she was 30.”

Funny birthday wishes for 40-year-olds | Wonderbly Blog (2)

General 40th birthday wishes

Lastly, here are a couple of final suggestions for anyone else on your fortieth birthday list – work colleagues, in-laws, those people you only ever wish happy birthday to over social media.

“You don’t look a day over 39.”

“They say life begins at 40. That makes you a newborn, so you’re allowed to spend half the day sleeping and the other half screaming at people. (Jealous.)”

“Happy 40th! Here’s to the welcome slide into don’t-give-a-sh*ttery.”

Of course, you’d need to check how your recipient feels about curse words with the last one. So maybe don’t put it into a work email.

Wish them a happy 40th

Everyone loves a birthday, but 40+ hangovers are next-level – and that’s just the start. Help them survive this decade of ups and downs with our Survival Guide.

Create their guide

Funny birthday wishes for 40-year-olds | Wonderbly Blog (2024)
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