5 OTHER WAYS TO SAY "GOOD LUCK" IN ENGLISH
How to Wish Someone Good Luck
When someone you care about is facing a challenge or concern, it's only natural to want to wish her luck. If just saying “Good luck!” doesn’t satisfy you, there are a whole range of options. Cultures through history have had different ways of expressing these wishes, from words and symbols to spells, tokens, and gestures, all of which can help you to strike the right note and give your best, sincere wishes for an auspicious outcome.
Giving Encouraging Words
Keep it simple – say ‘Good luck!” One of the best and simplest ways to wish someone luck is use that very phrase. “Good luck!” is straightforward, heartfelt, and almost impossible to get wrong.
- Make sure that you sound sincere. If said in the wrong tone, this phrase can be interpreted as sarcasm. So make sure that the person understands your sincerity when you express the sentiment.
- Some people dislike the phrase because, they feel, it carries a note of negativity. “Good luck” for them implies that you have little to do with your own success.Use the phrase at your discretion.
Use another phrase.If you are dealing with someone who dislikes “Good luck!” or if you want a more creative English expression, there are other sayings that essentially mean the same thing. Try one of these depending on the situation.
- “Best of luck” or “hoping for the best” both carry the sentiment and are subtle variations.
- Crossing one’s fingers is often done to express a wish for luck, so you can also wish good luck by saying, “I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
- Some actors feel that it is bad luck to say “Good luck!” before a performance. For this reason, it is traditionally better in the situation to “break a leg,” which refers to taking a bow at curtain call.
- While not an exact match, people sometimes borrow the phrase “May the force be with you” from Star Wars to wish people luck with a challenging task.
- Other English variants include, “Knock them dead!” “You’ll do great,” or “Blow them away!”
Express yourself in another language.English is not the only language that has expressions for “Good luck,” of course. One way to stay fresh is to wish someone luck in a foreign language. This works especially well if the other person speaks that language or has some connection to its culture.
- In Spanish, wish someone “¡Buena suerte!” Both “Viel Glück!” and “Alles Gute!” can be used to express well wishes in German, while “Bonne chance!” works in French.
- In Italian, try “Buona fortuna!” or “In bocca al lupo!”
- “Jūk néih hóuwahn” (祝你好運) is the Cantonese Chinese way of wishing luck, while “Gokoūn o inorimasu” (ご幸運を祈ります) is the formal way to wish good luck in Japanese. “Ganbatte ne” (頑張ってね) is the informal expression.
- Wish someone luck in Greek with “kalí tíhi” (Καλή τύχη). “İyi şanslar” or “Bol şans!” work in Turkish.
- "Saubhāgya" (सौभाग्य) is the Hindi way of wishing good luck. In Arabic, try “Bi’t-tawfiq!”
Using Good Luck Charms, Offerings, and Spells
Choose a charm from the natural world.Most good luck charms and symbols are derived from objects in nature. Give the actual object itself when possible, or look for a visual representation of that charm when you are unable to use the charm itself.
- Four leaf clovers are rarer than their three-leaf cousins and therefore lucky. The first leaf symbolizes “faith,” the second symbolizes “hope,” the third symbolizes “love,” and the fourth symbolizes “luck.”
- Acorns represent good luck, youthfulness, prosperity, and spiritual growth. The Norse once placed acorns on their windowsills to protect a house against lightning.
- Rainbows are considered lucky for several reasons. Many cultures see them as bridges or paths used by spirits. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God created the rainbow as a promise to never again destroy the world with a flood.
- Some people believe that amber – that is, fossilized tree sap, brings good luck, balances emotions, and eliminates fear.
- Stars are often used to symbolize luck because many ancient cultures believed that one’s fortunes could be predicted and controlled by stars. Shooting stars are especially lucky.
- Small bamboo plants known as “lucky bamboo” are often kept for the sake of longevity and strength. Bamboo is fast-growing and resilient, which is why it is a symbol of strength in Chinese culture.
Choose a symbol from the animal kingdom.There are a few animals specifically tied to the idea of luck or various applications of luck. Try using one of these to express your wishes to a person. Additionally, there are certain parts of various animals that are considered lucky.
- The rabbit’s foot is a popular choice, for example. Rabbits were considered lucky since they were associated with spring, the season of new life. Since the back feet touch the ground ahead of the front feet, they are considered especially lucky.
- Some people think that wishbones from a turkey or chicken grant wishes when broken in two. The person who gets the bigger half is the one who can make a wish – just don’t tell anyone! The wish won’t come true if you share it.
- Goldfish are symbols of prosperity, wealth, wisdom, power, longevity, and peace. They are also one of the eight symbols of Buddha, and are thus symbolic of fertility and harmony.
- Dolphins are symbols of luck and protection, as well. This comes from the belief of ancient sailors, who would see dolphins around their ships when they neared land.
- The “maneki-neko” or “beckoning cat” is a specific cat figure in Japan believed to usher in good fortune and wealth.
Use a made-made charm.Not every good luck charm comes entirely from the natural world. There are also some that are made by human hands. Many of these charms are easier to give than nature-based charms, so consider one when you want to express your hopes of good luck.
- For example. horseshoes are sometimes hung inside homes to protect the household and usher in good fortune. Originally these were made by blacksmiths, which was considered a lucky trade.
- Coins, for instance, are considered lucky in many cultures. The exact coin you need for luck can vary, however. In the United States it is usually the “lucky penny,” particularly those that you find facing heads up. In Britain, it was the sixpence coin.
- Three keys kept together symbolize the keys of health, wealth, and love.
Think in religious terms.Some religions have symbols related to good luck. While these symbols may have greater significance than mere charms, they are sometimes used to express sentiments dealing with well wishes. If you or the individual you are wishing luck has a tie to one of these traditions, a religious symbol might be a good idea.
- For example, dream catchers figure in some Native American spiritual beliefs and are supposed to keep evil from entering dreams while you sleep.
- The “Laughing Buddha” or Pu-Tai is used in Chinese culture to symbolize happiness, health, abundance, and contentment.
- While a cross primarily serves as a symbol of faith for Christians, it served in ancient times as a token of good luck and protection. Some Christians today also use medals, statues, and similar representations of saints to express an earnest desire for protection or guidance in a certain area of life (usually the one under the saint’s patronage).
- Remember to be careful about giving a religious symbol. People often feel strongly about faith, and could take offense if given one in the wrong spirit. For example, a Christian might gladly accept a cross with wishes that “God bless you.” But they might be offended if told that the cross is for “good luck.”
Cast a luck spell.Some religious traditions believe that spells and incantations can grant good fortune. For example, there are a number of appropriate magical spells in Wicca, which draws on ancient European pagan beliefs. If you are comfortable with the idea – and your recipient is, as well – you might try one of these spells.
- The Wiccan good luck spell involves oil and a black candle. With a drop of oil on its tip, move your finger up and down the candle while visualizing the person’s fortune and good luck and chanting, “Black candle, turn X’s luck around / Let prosperity and joy abound.”
- Another spell can be said before bed. With a candle and pen and paper, write your wish clearly on the paper and then put the paper underneath the candle. Then clear your mind. Light the candle and concentrate on what you want to come true – good luck for your friend – and visualize it.
Give the gift of food.There are even a few foods that can be used to express good luck. Give one of these foods to the person in question or cook them a meal using one or more of these foods.
- Long noodles are eaten in various Asian countries to bring a long life, but know that you can’t break the noodles before they reach your mouth.
- Black-eyed peas are eaten in the southern Unities States, where, traditionally, they are the first food eaten in the New Year for good luck.
- Cabbage is connected to luck, especially of a monetary nature, since the green resembles paper money. This is especially true in Germany, Ireland, and parts of the United States.
- Lentils look similar to coins and are thus eaten for good fortune in parts of Italy.
- Pomegranates are connected to abundance and fertility in Mediterranean countries, like Turkey.
- Fish is considered lucky in parts of North America, Asia, and Europe since fish "swim forward" toward new goals. They also swim in large schools, so they represent abundance.
Making Other Gestures of Good Luck
Send a card.One of the easiest ways to express your wishes is to give the person in question a greeting card. Greeting cards typically have their own “good luck” messages written inside, but you can express more personalized wishes in a blank card, as well.
- Personalize the message by expressing your wishes in further detail or by saying “good luck” with another saying or in another language.
- If words are not enough for you, consider taping a small good luck charm—a penny, a four leaf clover, etc.—to the inside of the card.
Give a box or jar of good luck.Some people that jar or boxes filled with spices, herbs, or symbols can “attract” good luck. Fill a container with small, inexpensive tokens and give it to the person to whom you want to express your wishes. In essence, you are handing over a care package of luck.
- The package can include an excess of one symbol or a variety of several. For instance, you could hand someone a jar of shiny pennies to wish him or her luck. Alternatively, you could pack a small box with a lucky bamboo plant, three skeleton rings looped on the same key-ring, a plush dolphin toy, a few star decals, and a few acorns—or any other assortment of symbols.
- Herbs that go well in these jars include chamomile, clover, dandelion, mistletoe, rose hips, sandalwood, spearmint, anise, and thyme.
- If giving small trinkets or herbs does not appeal to you, write out your wishes on slips of paper and tuck them into a jar. You can then give this jar to those needing a bit of extra luck. Instruct them to open it and draw out a slip whenever they need a dose of well wishes. Write different expressions meaning “good luck” on each slip.
- Similarly, you can write your own specific wish on each slip. Vary these expressions, as well.
Make use of products that already use the concept of luck.A cute, whimsical way to wish someone good luck is to send them a product with “luck” in the name or description.
- One of the easiest, most inexpensive examples is the “Lucky Charms” cereal.
Give a charm bracelet or piece of jewelry.Since many good luck symbols are difficult to give in their true forms, jewelry manufacturers tend to use these symbols and their likenesses in metal charms. You can give a piece of jewelry with a single charm on it or give a charm bracelet adorned with many symbols of luck.
- Birthstones are also considered lucky, so giving someone an accessory with his or her birthstone is another way to wish good luck.
- For someone who doesn't wear jewelry, you could still give an accessory—like a key chain—with a symbol of luck attached to it.
Ward off bad luck.Some gestures, while not exactly wishing good luck, try to ward off misfortune. These are called “avoidant actions” and, some people think, are effective ways to ensure neutral or good luck. Studies show that they really do bring people peace of mind.
- One avoidant action is to “knock on wood.” Knock on a nearby piece of wood is meant to avoid “tempting fate” – that is, jinxing an observation about one’s fate or a desired outcome.
- Throwing salt over one’s left should plays on the association of salt with lies and treachery. It is supposed to “blind” the devil waiting behind you.
- Keeping your fingers crossed, as said, is another way that people “avoid” undesired outcomes.
QuestionHow do I wish someone good luck in Yiddish?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGood Luck in Yiddish is 'zol zayn mit mazl'.Thanks!
Short Video: How to Wish Someone Good Luck
If just saying “Good luck” doesn't cut it, try giving someone a good luck symbol, like a rabbit’s foot, a wishbone, a four leaf clover, or a horseshoe. If you want to say “Good luck” to someone who doesn't speak English, you have tons of options! For Spanish, say “Buena suerte.” Say “Good luck” in German with the phrase “Alles Gute,” and in French with the phrase “Bonne chance!” Try “Gokoūn o inorimasu” for Japanese, or “Bi’t-tawfiq!” in Arabic. You can also send someone a personalized good luck card.
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