Idioms title

The Idiom Attic - a collection of hundreds of English idioms, each one explained.

"luck" idioms...

See also, the Phrase Thesaurus list of phrases that contain the word luck

and, a list of phrases that relate in some way the word luck

" A blessing in disguise "
Meaning:
An apparent misfortune that works to the eventual benefit of the recipient.
Example:
Breaking my arm was a blessing in disguise. I married the nurse.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Widely used.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   happiness  
" A toss up "
Meaning:
1. The flip of a coin to decide on something. 2. A result, usually between two courses of action, which is uncertain and could go either way.
Example:
1. Before the game we tossed up to decide which direction we would be playing. 2. Who will win the Premiership this year? It looks pretty even. I’d say it’s a toss up.
Where did it originate?:
Britain. An allusion to tossing a coin to decide an outcome.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
" Ace in the hole "
Meaning:
A saved, hidden advantage that can supply a victory when revealed.
Example:
Pete Townshend thought ’I can see for miles’ was a sure-fire hit and he saved it, as an ace in the hole, until he needed to boost the group’s success.
Where did it originate?:
Where is it used?:
Used worldwide, but not commonly so.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   america  
" Close but no cigar "
Meaning:
Very near to success but falling short.
Example:
Ten hits in a row gets you a prize. Nine for you Jack. Sorry - close but no cigar.
Where did it originate?:
USA, mid-20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   america  
" Cross your fingers "
Meaning:
To hope that something happens.
Example:
Cross your fingers - I've put £500 in number 29.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 18th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   the_human_body  
" Don't count your chickens before they hatch "
Meaning:
Don't count on receiving some benefit until you actually have it.
Example:
I know you felt good about that exam, but you haven't passed until you get the result - don't count your chickens.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 16th century proverb.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   patience   animals   proverbial  
" Down to the wire "
Meaning:
Not decided until the very last minute.
Example:
Jonny Wilkinson's last minute score in the world cup gave England the win. It went right down to the wire.
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" Go out on a limb "
Meaning:
Take a risk to support someone or something.
Example:
He knew his boss was an army man, so saying that he was against the war was really going out on a limb.
Where did it originate?:
USA, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature   cliche   america  
" It's a small world "
Meaning:
Said when people meet unexpectedly, away from their usual haunts.
Example:
I went to New York and the first person I met was the guy from next door. it's a small world alright.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, in an 1873 novel by G. Chesney.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   location  
" Knock on wood "
Meaning:
Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid bad luck or to continue having good luck.
Example:
I have never broken a bone - touch wood.
Where did it originate?:
USA, early 20th century. Other variants, like 'touch wood' are earlier.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   nature   america  
" On a wing and a prayer "
Meaning:
In a difficult situation and reliant on luck to get out of it.
Example:
Jean was out on her feet after two miles. She was on a wing and a prayer to get to the end of the marathon.
Where did it originate?:
USA. From a 1940s film script.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   religion   america  
" Once in a blue moon "
Meaning:
A rare occurrence.
Example:
West Bromwich Albion have won the cup. but only every once in a blue moon.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   colour   nature   number  
" Out of the blue "
Meaning:
Suddenly and unexpectedly.
Example:
We were sunbathing and then it just started to hail. It was literally out of the blue.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century (as 'a bolt from the blue').
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   surprise  
" Straight from the horses mouth "
Meaning:
Heard from the authoritative source.
Example:
There's going to be an election in May. My sister is the Prime Ministers secretary so I got that straight from the horses mouth.
Where did it originate?:
Uncertain origin, probably 20th century USA.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   animals   honesty   secrets   america  
" Stranger things have happened "
Meaning:
Said when the feasibility of some unlikely event is questioned.
Example:
Jamie says he just saw a chimp waiting at the bus stop. I don't really believe him, but then, stranger things have happened.
Where is it used?:
Mostly Britain.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   surprise  
" Third time lucky "
Meaning:
Said when trying something for the third time.
Example:
Two divorces and now I'm engaged again. Let's hope it's third time lucky.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   number  
" Third times a charm "
Meaning:
The third try is often successful.
Example:
Have you noticed that, in TV dramas, when the police try a lock with a set of keys it's always the third that works. They must think third times a charm.
Where did it originate?:
Originated in Ireland in the 1830s and was later adopted in American speech.
Where is it used?:
Worldwide, but more common in the USA than elsewhere.
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   number  
" Unlucky in love "
Meaning:
Having been unable to find a long-term romantic partner.
Example:
Jane's so unlucky in love. That's the third time she's been engaged only to have it broken off.
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More idioms about:   misfortune   emotion   family  
" Your guess is as good as mine "
Meaning:
I have no idea.
Example:
Who will win the Grand National this year? Your guess is as good as mine.
Where did it originate?:
Britain, 20th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   risk  
" Your number is up "
Meaning:
It is now your turn. For instance, if 1. You are about to die. or 2. You have won a lottery.
Example:
1. When I heard the bombers screaming towards us I was sure my number was up. 2. Who has ticket number 374? Come on down and collect your prize - your number is up.
Where did it originate?:
1. Britain, early 20th century. 2. Britain, early 19th century.
Where is it used?:
Hear the idiom spoken:
More idioms about:   death   number  

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