Definition of luck in English:



mass noun
  • 1Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.

    ‘it was just luck that the first kick went in’
    ‘they're supposed to bring good luck’
    • ‘By luck rather than judgement my fly fell perfectly behind the tree where the fish was lying.’
    • ‘It is believed that these purchases will bring luck and prosperity to the buyers.’
    • ‘I suppose it sounds feasible enough, although they haven't brought him much luck tonight.’
    • ‘Our only annoyance is that the eggs come so fast that it's simply a matter of luck, rather than skill if you manage to duck to avoid one.’
    • ‘He attributes his success to hard work and dedication first, and luck is only secondary.’
    • ‘If well-performed, the lion dance is believed to bring luck and happiness.’
    • ‘Swindon police had better luck bringing their Al Capone to justice than their American counterparts.’
    • ‘Managers attribute an individual's successful performance to ability, effort and luck.’
    • ‘They owe some of their success to straightforward luck, coming at the right time with the right music.’
    • ‘There has to be a standard, a level where the candidacy is based on merit rather than on luck.’
    • ‘He could hardly believe his luck, and used his Northern grit and determination to become a local and national hero.’
    • ‘They have yet to concede a goal, but that has been because of luck rather than planning.’
    • ‘Most people stumbled into their careers because of luck, chance, connections or all three.’
    • ‘We would say good luck Latoya, but from looks of it luck will have little to do with it!’
    • ‘I gave credit for that to chance, luck or anything that you might want to call it.’
    • ‘A railway worker, who did not want to be named, claimed it was only luck that prevented a major accident.’
    • ‘Like most successful entrepreneurs, Wallace was lucky, or rather he exploited his luck.’
    • ‘Debates sometimes occur as to whether long term investment success is due to luck or skill.’
    • ‘If improvisation exploits accident, the accident itself is often the result of luck.’
    • ‘People believe that this will bring luck and prosperity to themselves and their family.’
    good fortune, good luck, success, successfulness, prosperity, advantage, advantageousness, felicity
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Chance considered as a force that causes good or bad things to happen.
      • ‘They tried to cover their mouth in sheer surprise, unable to believe their luck.’
      • ‘For those who believe in luck they must have had the worst of it, though they may have said the best.’
      • ‘He continued his good form but rode on his luck after he was dropped twice.’
      • ‘We need some wins and I genuinely believe our luck is going to change.’
      • ‘So you can't believe your luck when you nip out for five minutes and your house goes up in smoke without trace.’
      • ‘I felt we had the makings of a perfect match and she was so attentive to me I could not believe my luck.’
      • ‘It was hard to believe that their luck had changed so drastically in only one day.’
      • ‘Suddenly, I remembered a film I saw over Christmas and couldn't believe my luck.’
      • ‘I could not believe my luck and booked a week holiday for the week starting on the 28th April.’
      • ‘He could not believe his luck when he saw the Premiership match up for grabs.’
      • ‘The trick, I have decided, is to try not to appear as though you can't believe your luck.’
      • ‘You just cannot believe your luck to have landed such an important customer.’
      • ‘Many people believe in luck, and I am sure one must be very, very lucky to win the lotto.’
      • ‘All I hoped is the luck we thought was on its way to Carlow continues on its journey too.’
      • ‘I don't like to say that we had bad luck, but we didn't have enough luck today to win the race.’
      • ‘Actually, I had a lot of luck on my side when I chose the circumstances of my birth.’
      • ‘With all of this bad luck going on, you know your luck is going to change in Las Vegas.’
      • ‘The next morning when I returned, I could not believe my luck as there were two fish feeding near the bridge.’
      • ‘She has good reason to believe her luck is finally about to change.’
      • ‘Blimey, just my luck to get a chance like this when I was obviously temporarily disabled.’
      fortune, fate, destiny, lot, stars, what is written in the stars, karma, kismet
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    2. 1.2 Something regarded as bringing about or portending good or bad things.
      ‘I don't like Friday—it's bad luck’
      fortunate, lucky, blessed, favoured, born under a lucky star
      View synonyms


[no object]luck into/upon
  • 1Chance to find or acquire.

    ‘he lucked into a disc-jockey job’
    • ‘Yet it was a role the 26-year-old actress insists she lucked into.’
    • ‘Well, first of all, you have to get the right ones, and we really lucked into these three.’
    • ‘There's no question he lucked into the best opportunity he could find after his time in D.C.’
    • ‘After a few years of temporary offices, I somehow lucked into a very nice office that I happily settled into.’
    • ‘After paying an average of $35 every time I hopped into an L.A. cab during the recent fashion week, I lucked upon a shiny, blue minivan with ‘Shopper Shuttle’ emblazoned on it.’
    • ‘I really lucked into this and was able to get out of the other deal.’
    • ‘Usually, when lucking into a second chance, the thinking man will be sure to conduct himself more wisely.’
    • ‘This time I lucked into a nonstop flight that deposited me in the Rockies early enough to get a four-hour nap, so alas I really had nothing to blame my behavior on, except perhaps for my public-school education.’
    • ‘But when I happened to luck into something, you got jealous.’
    • ‘I felt that I had lucked into it all, that somehow it wasn't quite fair.’
    • ‘He'd often lucked into local publicity by pushing the limits of good taste, but he'd never actually set out to provoke.’
    • ‘Also, I lucked into a few things that helped me cope, that maybe someone else in a similar situation could benefit from.’
    • ‘So we were around for the beginning of it and we just happened to have lucked into doing this retrospective.’
    • ‘All I'm saying is that if it's good, we lucked into it, and if it's bad, we're stuck with a system intended for circumstances quite different from our own.’
    • ‘And I think that's the answer is, boy, they just lucked into a great spot half way between New York and Boston.’
    • ‘I lucked upon a seat, settled in, nodded off and 20 minutes later heard my name being called by the admitting nurse.’
    • ‘If Franklin had lucked into a royal audience, might he have persuaded the King to ignore firebrands like Wilkes and do the right thing by America?’
    • ‘Their results early in the year were well earned - they didn't luck into any of that - so we all know they have what it takes to win.’
    • ‘We lucked into spotting a tiny Winter Wren while visiting the East Pond.’
    • ‘I wonder how many restaurants he went in to order ‘something as cool as a green glade, refreshing as a spring breeze’ before he lucked upon a place that not only had one of those, but also the patience to listen to him.’
    1. 1.1luck outNorth American Achieve success or advantage by good luck.
      ‘I lucked out and found a wonderful woman’
      • ‘And his personality is a thousand times more attractive than his appearance… so I guess I really lucked out.’
      • ‘The state lucked out last year, thanks to a cool summer.’
      • ‘There was a time when I thought I had just lucked out, but now I'm starting to appreciate the amount of work it took.’
      • ‘Someone who retired on, say, January 1, 2000, might have lucked out.’
      • ‘Some last minute shoppers might luck out as retailers boost perks to lure shoppers.’
      • ‘The two of them lucked out to have the same schedules.’
      • ‘She had lucked out this time, not like the time she had ended up with the dinosaurs surrounding her, nor the time she'd found herself in the middle of a forest, halfway up a tree with a bear underneath her.’
      • ‘I can't afford to do that often… so he lucks out there.’
      • ‘I must have lucked out, my first three West End records are still my favourite.’
      • ‘I really lucked out there, she's a wonderful person.’
      • ‘I'll tell you, if he is anything like Ronny, you will have really lucked out.’
      • ‘I really lucked out because I knew what I wanted to be.’
      • ‘‘I think I lucked out with this booking,’ admits Williams, who has answered the phone at the right time on more than one occasion.’
      • ‘I don't really care about getting a gift from a stranger, or sending one to a stranger (although that year I lucked out and got someone I know.)’
      • ‘I'd never even heard of them before but I really lucked out.’
      • ‘And I lucked out, actually, because there were around 5 sets of exams (each with different questions), and I happened to get the one with the stuff I knew.’
      • ‘After my sophomore year in college, during a grueling search for a summer job that would be commensurate with my skills and elegant manner, I lucked out and was hired by a large hospital as an orderly.’
      • ‘He broke his arm once but lucked out because the team had an off-week and, ‘with the help of medicine and needles,’ punted the following game.’
      • ‘Still, I lucked out in my situation, unlike my brother.’


  • as luck would have it

    • Used to indicate that something happened purely by chance.

      ‘as luck would have it, his route took him very near where they lived’
      • ‘Anything can happen on the day and as luck would have it, it looks like the ground will be just right.’
      • ‘And as luck would have it, he was coming on my birthday.’
      • ‘But as luck would have it, one day in 2000 turned it around.’
      • ‘But as luck would have it, apparently some trains that don't usually run on that track are being rerouted through 7th Avenue.’
      • ‘Eventually Father O'Reilly agreed to let this devious plan go ahead but then, as luck would have it, he was suddenly called away on official Church business and was unable to watch the match.’
  • bad (or tough or rotten) luck

    • informal Used to express sympathy or commiserations.

      ‘bad luck, Dora—perhaps you hit the ball a little too hard?’
      • ‘So if you are young person looking to start up your own business, tough luck.’
      • ‘Great if you can swim in the deep end, tough luck if you can't go out of your depth like myself.’
      • ‘That is the right message on Iraq, and if undecided voters find it too bold and unmodulated, tough luck.’
      • ‘Last week I did some more interesting things, but there wasn't a weblog then, so tough luck.’
      • ‘What am I going to say… ‘Sorry mate, tough luck that's mine… just in case I get sick sometime in the distant future’?’
      • ‘But tough luck, we did, and now we have to belly up to the fallout.’
      • ‘So the grand final was switched to Sunday night, and by the time the presentations are made, its 10 pm or later - tough luck if you live in Queensland or Victoria and the kids have to go to school the next day.’
      • ‘Sometimes things that happen on your property affect others, and it's not fair to say tough luck just because you own that plot of land.’
      • ‘If a woman has had 8 children already and is worn out with the demands already put on her, taking anti-depressants and determined that she can't cope with anymore, do we say No, tough luck.’
      • ‘And if that doesn't suit management then tough luck.’
      • ‘Well tough luck, sucker, for Washington's relief package does nothing for you.’
      • ‘So all you ladies jumping on the bandwagon after this movie, tough luck, but I've got first dibs!’
      • ‘The column has merely reflected the views of ninety nine per cent of the local community and if that sours one or two people then tough luck.’
      • ‘Why not institute a policy whereby those who've paid up front are guaranteed their seats and if they miss the flight, then tough luck?’
      • ‘They look at the situation and say, ‘Well, tough luck, Nova Scotia, we'll give it to New Brunswick.’’
      • ‘In looking at the responses, I see it has annoyed more than a few of his fans - tough luck, people.’
      • ‘I don't care if you were hoping to see something amusing… tough luck.’
      • ‘And he came up with a new line which was basically, tough luck, that's how business is done in Washington.’
      • ‘We function based on these beliefs labelled into finite categories and if you do not believe, tough luck, you lose.’
      • ‘So for those of you who thought you could learn how to sing this good, tough luck.’
  • be in (or out of) luck

    • Be fortunate (or unfortunate)

      ‘I was in luck—the lift was working’
      • ‘If it vibrates the same way, then you might be out of luck.’
      • ‘They must have looked in before, and this time they were in luck.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the average unemployed American is out of luck.’
      • ‘He was in luck and the hotel agreed to cater for 2,000 guests, who came from as far away as Pakistan.’
      • ‘He was in luck - staff pointed out the ‘Y’ beside it stood for ‘Yes’.’
      • ‘He said all his players had followed his instruction and had displayed high individual skills to earn points but the team was out of luck.’
      • ‘Firstly, anyone wishing to get on or off in the smaller towns along the route such as Squamish, Lillooet, or Williams Lake, will be out of luck.’
      • ‘On this occasion, though, they were out of luck.’
      • ‘We were in luck, we had made it with half an hour to spare.’
      • ‘But without a certificate, the owner was out of luck.’
      • ‘We were in luck, the doors magically opened for us.’
      • ‘We were in luck, my test was negative, so again I did not have to make the horrendous choice.’
      • ‘We were hoping to see a fight to the death between a Great White shark and a Southern Right whale, but we were out of luck.’
      • ‘Later they were out of luck when Camross beat them in the quarter finals.’
      • ‘If the wreath stuck, they were in luck and their husbands would be good.’
      • ‘The home side were out of luck in the one-day competitions as well.’
      • ‘If you woke freezing in the morning, realising you needed a bag of coal and a loaf of white bread, you were out of luck.’
      • ‘Though of course if you didn't want the dented ones, you were out of luck.’
      • ‘When he brought out the large helmet, it was my turn to look dubious, but I was in luck because the helmet was also much larger than it looked.’
      • ‘The other 173 members of the list will be out of luck.’
      fortunate, lucky, blessed, favoured, born under a lucky star
      View synonyms
  • for luck

    • To bring good fortune.

      ‘I wear this crystal under my costume for luck’
      • ‘There are enough distractions already, from the trumpet sounding the start of a new race to other customers knocking on the wooden window sill for luck.’
      • ‘She had a red ribbon pinned inside her clothes for luck, too.’
      • ‘I like to rest, but there's nothing I really do for luck.’
      • ‘The wedding, attended by more than 100 friends and family, also featured the traditional farming custom of an arch of pitchforks, which the couple walked under for luck.’
      • ‘So we'll top up with another 12 UK pints for luck.’
      • ‘There are others like him who choose the colour for luck.’
      • ‘Both children and adults can participate in activities such as skipping rope, kicking stones, and throwing coins for luck.’
      • ‘However my sister changed that for me when my Aunt put a lovely shiny silver shilling piece in my hand for luck.’
      • ‘It seemed that everyone in the casino wanted to touch me for luck (I felt like a leprechaun!)’
      • ‘He produced a smooth sphere and clutched it for luck.’
  • good (or the best of) luck

    • Used to express wishes for success.

      ‘good luck with your studies!’
      • ‘The young singer comes from a very talented musical family and everyone wishes her the best of luck on Sunday.’
      • ‘He is wished every success and good luck in his new post by his neighbours and friends.’
      • ‘I cannot help feeling this is the best and perhaps final chance, so good luck to all concerned.’
      • ‘We are always wishing each other the best of luck, but you know what luck is just about worthless.’
      • ‘Her family and many friends wish her good luck and every success in her career.’
      • ‘We congratulate Mary and wish her the best of luck in her new business venture.’
      • ‘To our Tyrone brethren I wish the best of luck, bring Sam back to Ulster where it belongs!’
      • ‘She also wished the incoming officers the best of luck in the forthcoming year.’
      • ‘The club extend thanks to all those who purchased tickets and wish them the best of luck in the four remaining draws.’
      • ‘Good luck to you and good luck to all the men and women you're working with over in Iraq.’
  • good luck to —

    • Used to indicate one's support for someone's actions despite the difficulties or risks they pose.

      ‘if he wants to sell the house and go and be a doctor in Australia, then good luck to him’
      • ‘There will always be women who do not want to take this route, and good luck to them.’
      • ‘We might well say that if people want their children educated entirely through Irish, then good luck to them.’
      • ‘And if this arrangement works for these two people, then good luck to them.’
      • ‘Also if they are happy making money this way then good luck to them.’
      • ‘I expect that no-one else has yet seen this poem but good luck to anyone who picked it up in the 20 seconds it was available.’
  • one's luck is in

    • One is fortunate.

      • ‘Kell, meanwhile, remain on course for the Mid Kerry championship, and after a lucky escape on the first day, they might feel their luck is in now.’
      • ‘And now that their luck is in they may feel like entering the new Nationalist promotion being run in conjunction with ERA McCormack to pay someone's mortgage for a year.’
      • ‘You might just hit the millions now your luck is in.’
      • ‘Then your luck is in and they tell you it's the operating theatre in the morning and next day you get the pre-med to make you feel drowsy and at ease.’
      • ‘When she discovers that he lives alone and is truly penniless, she thinks her luck is in, that she's discovered a candidate for her whirlwind marriage.’
      • ‘If his luck is in he can sometimes fill two canisters in a day, but usually there is only time to fill one.’
      • ‘The Scribbler is delighted to inform you that your luck is in.’
  • just one's luck

    • Typical of one's bad luck.

      ‘just my luck: it's an early summer thunderstorm’
      • ‘Well just our luck, the driver was in a bad mood.’
      • ‘It was just my luck that at that moment a police van with nine or ten coppers in it drove by.’
      • ‘Just our luck to find out just as the money-back guarantee runs out.’
      • ‘Just my luck she showed up this morning to collect something.’
      • ‘It'll be just his luck for Stephen to take up poker, though, and beat him every year in the World Poker Final.’
      • ‘Just my luck that someone would be there filming when I'm all fat and pimply.’
  • the luck of the draw

    • The outcome of chance rather than something one can control.

      ‘quality of care depends largely on the luck of the draw’
      • ‘The great fear was being picked up by the wrong side and shot - it was just the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘It was the luck of the draw, but old habits die hard, and football will have to work very hard to win back some of the funding currently invested in basketball.’
      • ‘The way I am performing I am confident of getting a medal, but it could depend on the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘Ideally, you also want to be drawn at home but it is very much the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘I just went through an inane complete search of all my belongings, just by the luck of the draw as I went through security in Phoenix.’
      • ‘The affluent minority, meanwhile, acknowledge that their good fortune is at least in part the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘In the past those big clubs have accepted that it's the luck of the draw and simply asked fans without tickets to stay away.’
      • ‘If ever a team deserved to get the luck of the draw, it was Exeter.’
      • ‘It's the luck of the draw: where you are born, where you live, and what culture you identify with will have everything to do with your perceptions.’
      • ‘But enforcement and justice around simple possession still has a lot to do with the luck of the draw: charges and sentencing can vary among and within police jurisdictions.’
  • no such luck

    • informal Used to express disappointment that something has not happened or is unlikely to happen.

      • ‘As with the last few mornings, after getting up I crept around the corner of the stairs, hoping to see a large chair-shaped parcel sitting in the hall, but no such luck.’
      • ‘I had planned to sleep, I tried to sleep but no such luck.’
      • ‘The people who have to carry this policy out have no such luck.’
      • ‘A few years earlier, he would've had no such luck.’
      • ‘Well, would that I could spin the world backwards, but no such luck.’
  • ride one's luck

    • Let favourable events take their course without taking undue risks.

      ‘the batsman rode his luck to score his second century’
      • ‘He rode his luck, of course, but he also made his own.’
      • ‘We have more steel now and, though we rode our luck against Celtic, this steel probably saw us through, even if it shouldn't be forgotten that the result brought us back-to-back victories at Parkhead.’
      • ‘City were perhaps lucky at times as they rode their luck - but that is the undeniable magic of the FA Cup.’
      • ‘City often rode their luck but looked ready to take their time, be patient and seize any meagre opportunities that came their way.’
      • ‘We rode our luck in the first half and I thought that might be the turning-point for us, but then we conceded two goals straight away after half-time and it wasn't to be our day yet again.’
      • ‘Yesterday the European adventurers rode their luck and came away with a draw which their largely inert performance barely deserved.’
      • ‘Fleetwood rode their luck and then enjoyed their best spell of the match.’
      • ‘Tired by their midweek efforts in Europe, they were dominated by Villa in the second half but rode their luck and proceeded to capitalise at the other end.’
      • ‘Yes, they rode their luck, and Celtic's second-half blitz should have seen United disposed of by three or four goals, but the way they came back at Celtic augurs well for the future.’
      • ‘A controversial goal denied Millwall all three points last Saturday against a Cardiff City side that rode their luck to get a 2-2 draw in the Cola-Cola Championship at The New Den.’
  • try one's luck

    • Do something that involves risk or luck, hoping to succeed.

      ‘he thought he'd try his luck at farming in Canada’
      • ‘Bower can understand why other players are prepared to take the risk and try their luck with City despite the continuous financial problems.’
      • ‘No matter how difficult it is or how dim their potential for success, most of these young people are determined to try their luck and gamble with their careers.’
      • ‘Really high-rollers prefer to place their bets in quieter private gambling rooms, usually trying their luck at baccarat.’
      • ‘Many people tried their luck throughout the day, hoping to dunk teachers and fellow students.’
      • ‘He gets himself invited to a party at Jenna's, hoping to try his luck at spin the bottle, but insists that Nicholas comes along.’
      • ‘Visitors will have the chance to try their luck in the many lotteries prepared by the organizers.’
      • ‘Of course paper planes are frowned on in our office so we haven't had a chance to try our luck, but we hear that the world record is almost 59 metres.’
      • ‘If you are not a chef, pampered or otherwise, you may be interested in trying your luck.’
      • ‘At the casino, near the area where gamblers normally try their luck at the slot machines, authorities held scores of people after the shooting.’
      • ‘Abroad, you don't need to part be of one of the ‘pro’ teams to take part in road races and many independent riders try their luck, hoping to catch the eye of scouts.’
  • with (any or a bit of) luck

    • Expressing the hope that something will happen in the way described.

      ‘with luck we should be there in time for breakfast’
      • ‘Oh well with luck I wont be at the office too long.’
      • ‘It is a project that will, with luck, focus the energies and hopes of an entire nation.’
      • ‘And with luck I may get those days at some point in May.’
      • ‘So there you have it, dear reader, our first expedition to Germany, Austria and Italy, and, with a bit of luck, hopefully not our last!’
      • ‘Probably neither comparison is fair; with luck, Miles' book will provide an intelligent alternative.’
      • ‘Well, with any luck, I hope they would prepare for paternity leave, actually.’
      • ‘I was hoping for it this morning, but with luck it'll arrive tomorrow.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a bit of luck and by staying injury-free, I can do that as well.’
      • ‘Maybe I'll get some editing work in this evening with luck.’
      • ‘She wouldn't be able to ask any questions, and with any luck, she would hopefully give it all up as a dream.’
  • worse luck

    • informal Used to express regret about something.

      ‘I have to go to secretarial school, worse luck’
      • ‘Tickets will be like gold-dust, worse luck.’
      • ‘The next hardware store I eventually found didn't have any gates either, worse luck.’
      • ‘And worse luck if he's supposed to be on Guard duty!’
      • ‘No-one was sent down to tuck me in, worse luck, but I do feel a bit better.’
      • ‘And worse luck, I had managed to leave Sweet William intact!’
      • ‘We've even served under a female Prime Minister, worse luck!’
      • ‘Maybe even two, worse luck, because the quantity is astonishing.’
      • ‘I have to say that the airline, Lan Chile, did get its computer to acknowledge me on the way back, all the way from Buenos Aires to Sydney, worse luck.’
      • ‘We'd been hoping to catch the sunset but were slightly too late, worse luck… however, seeing Sydney by night more than made up for it.’
      • ‘To be sure he's dead, worse luck for him.’
      unluckily, sadly, regrettably, unhappily, woefully, lamentably, alas, sad to say, sad to relate
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (as a verb): perhaps from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch lucken. The noun use (late 15th century) is from Middle Low German lucke, related to Dutch geluk, German Glück, of West Germanic origin and possibly related to lock.