phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Knock on wood

Posted by James Briggs on August 09, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Knock on wood posted by Q on August 08, 2001

: : This expression confuses me as to how that parrallels good luck.

: From the Archives. Posted by ESC on 08-02-00

: '...Some attribute it to the old game known as 'touching wood' or 'wood tag,' in which a player who succeeds in touching wood is safe from capture. Others hold that this game and 'knocking on wood' had a common origin in primitive tree worship, when trees were believed to harbor protective spirits. To rap on a tree -- the dwelling place of a friendly spirit -- was to call up the spirit of the tree to protect one against impending misfortune. Later, people would place the hand on a wooden statue of a deity for the same purpose...still others believe the superstition is of Christian origin and that it is in some way associated with the wooden cross upon which Jesus was crucified..."

The same sentiments apply in Britain, but we say 'touch wood' and not 'knock'