in luck


  1. the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities: With my luck I’ll probably get pneumonia.
  2. good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance: He had no luck finding work.
  3. a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person: She’s had nothing but bad luck all year.
  4. some object on which good fortune is supposed to depend: This rabbit’s foot is my luck.

Verb Phrases Informal.

  1. luck into/onto, to meet, acquire, become, etc., by good luck: She lucked into a great job.
  2. luck out, to have an instance or run of exceptionally good luck: He lucked out when he made a hole in one during the tournament.
  3. luck upon, to come across by chance: to luck upon a profitable investment.
  1. down on one’s luck, in unfortunate circumstances; unlucky: She hated to see her old friend so down on her luck.
  2. in luck, lucky; fortunate: We were in luck, for the bakery was still open.
  3. luck of the draw, the luck one has in or as if in drawing cards.
  4. out of luck, unlucky; unfortunate: When it comes to getting World Series tickets, we’re usually out of luck.
  5. push one’s luck, Informal. to try to make too much of an opportunity; go too far.Also crowd one’s luck.


  1. events that are beyond control and seem subject to chance; fortune
  2. success or good fortune
  3. something considered to bring good luck
  4. down on one’s luck having little or no good luck to the point of suffering hardships
  5. no such luck informal unfortunately not
  6. try one’s luck to attempt something that is uncertain

late 15c. from early Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc “happiness, good fortune,” of unknown origin. It has cognates in Dutch geluk, Middle High German g(e)lücke, German Glück “fortune, good luck.” Perhaps first borrowed in English as a gambling term. To be down on (one’s) luck is from 1832; to be in luck is from 1900; to push (one’s) luck is from 1911. Good luck as a salutation to one setting off to do something is from 1805. Expression better luck next time attested from 1802.

A gentleman was lately walking through St Giles’s, where a levelling citizen attempting to pick his pocket of a handkerchief, which the gentleman caught in time, and secured, observing to the fellow, that he had missed his aim, the latter, with perfect sang-froid, answered, “better luck next time master.”  [“Monthly Mirror,” London, 1802]


by 1945, from luck (n.). To luck out “succeed through luck” is American English colloquial, attested by 1946; to luck into (something good) is from 1944. However, lukken was a verb in Middle English (mid-15c.) meaning “to happen, chance;” also, “happen fortunately.”

Fortunate, enjoying success, as in You’re in luck—we found your car keys. [Mid-1800s]

In addition to the idioms beginning with luck

  • luck into
  • luck of the devil
  • luck of the draw
  • luck out

also see:

  • as luck would have it
  • beginner’s luck
  • down on one’s luck
  • good luck
  • hard luck
  • in luck
  • out of luck
  • push one’s luck
  • run of luck
  • take pot luck
  • tough break (luck)
  • try one’s hand (luck)
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