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Third time is the charm

Posted by ESC on June 26, 2006

In Reply to: Third time is the charm Posted by Gary Delp on June 26, 2006

: I have checked for the origin of "third time is the charm", and its variations, "third time'a a charm" and "third time's the charm" and not found the source. I have hear speculation that it is the same as "Third time lucky", but have heard that that comes from english common law, where if someone is tried and sentanced to be hung, and the trick does not work once, twice, and three times, then after the third time of it not killing the poor fellow, he goes free: third time lucky.

: So I think third time is the charm is different. Someone told me it came from shakespeare, but I have not been able to find it.

I thought I had more on this. Seems like there was a theory that three was lucky because of the Trinity.

THREE ON A MATCH -- Third on a match. Meaning: bad luck. Origin: possibly WWI. A sniper would see a match, take aim at the second soldier lighting up, and pick off the third. I think we had a Phrase Finder discussion about this saying before and the theory was that three guys lighting on a match would give a shooter a chance to fire. People are superstitious about the number three anyway: "All good things come in threes. People still believe that good or bad luck may follow someone three times in a row. The word bad may substitute for good. Things (death, luck, trouble, misfortune, murders, disasters) come in threes is a variant of the proverb. First attested in the United States in 1927..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman.