Definition of luck in English:



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

    ‘it was just luck that the first kick went in’
    ‘this charm was supposed to bring good luck’
    • ‘It is believed that these purchases will bring luck and prosperity to the buyers.’
    • ‘I gave credit for that to chance, luck or anything that you might want to call it.’
    • ‘Most people stumbled into their careers because of luck, chance, connections or all three.’
    • ‘He could hardly believe his luck, and used his Northern grit and determination to become a local and national hero.’
    • ‘He attributes his success to hard work and dedication first, and luck is only secondary.’
    • ‘I suppose it sounds feasible enough, although they haven't brought him much luck tonight.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They owe some of their success to straightforward luck, coming at the right time with the right music.’
    • ‘Swindon police had better luck bringing their Al Capone to justice than their American counterparts.’
    • ‘We would say good luck Latoya, but from looks of it luck will have little to do with it!’
    • ‘A railway worker, who did not want to be named, claimed it was only luck that prevented a major accident.’
    • ‘People believe that this will bring luck and prosperity to themselves and their family.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Managers attribute an individual's successful performance to ability, effort and luck.’
    • ‘Like most successful entrepreneurs, Wallace was lucky, or rather he exploited his luck.’
    • ‘If well-performed, the lion dance is believed to bring luck and happiness.’
    • ‘They have yet to concede a goal, but that has been because of luck rather than planning.’
    • ‘By luck rather than judgement my fly fell perfectly behind the tree where the fish was lying.’
    • ‘There has to be a standard, a level where the candidacy is based on merit rather than on luck.’
    good fortune, good luck, success, successfulness, prosperity, advantage, advantageousness, felicity
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    1. 1.1Chance considered as a force that causes good or bad things to happen.
      ‘luck was with me’
      • ‘The trick, I have decided, is to try not to appear as though you can't believe your luck.’
      • ‘Suddenly, I remembered a film I saw over Christmas and couldn't believe my luck.’
      • ‘I felt we had the makings of a perfect match and she was so attentive to me I could not believe my luck.’
      • ‘He continued his good form but rode on his luck after he was dropped twice.’
      • ‘Many people believe in luck, and I am sure one must be very, very lucky to win the lotto.’
      • ‘I don't like to say that we had bad luck, but we didn't have enough luck today to win the race.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They tried to cover their mouth in sheer surprise, unable to believe their luck.’
      • ‘All I hoped is the luck we thought was on its way to Carlow continues on its journey too.’
      • ‘For those who believe in luck they must have had the worst of it, though they may have said the best.’
      • ‘With all of this bad luck going on, you know your luck is going to change in Las Vegas.’
      • ‘It was hard to believe that their luck had changed so drastically in only one day.’
      • ‘I could not believe my luck and booked a week holiday for the week starting on the 28th April.’
      • ‘The next morning when I returned, I could not believe my luck as there were two fish feeding near the bridge.’
      • ‘Actually, I had a lot of luck on my side when I chose the circumstances of my birth.’
      • ‘She has good reason to believe her luck is finally about to change.’
      • ‘He could not believe his luck when he saw the Premiership match up for grabs.’
      • ‘Blimey, just my luck to get a chance like this when I was obviously temporarily disabled.’
      • ‘You just cannot believe your luck to have landed such an important customer.’
      fortune, fate, destiny, lot, stars, what is written in the stars, karma, kismet
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    2. 1.2Something 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
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[NO OBJECT]informal
  • 1 Chance to find or acquire.

    ‘he lucked into a disc-jockey job’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So we were around for the beginning of it and we just happened to have lucked into doing this retrospective.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘I felt that I had lucked into it all, that somehow it wasn't quite fair.’
    • ‘I really lucked into this and was able to get out of the other deal.’
    • ‘I lucked upon a seat, settled in, nodded off and 20 minutes later heard my name being called by the admitting nurse.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet it was a role the 26-year-old actress insists she lucked into.’
    • ‘Also, I lucked into a few things that helped me cope, that maybe someone else in a similar situation could benefit from.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But when I happened to luck into something, you got jealous.’
    • ‘And I think that's the answer is, boy, they just lucked into a great spot half way between New York and Boston.’
    • ‘Usually, when lucking into a second chance, the thinking man will be sure to conduct himself more wisely.’
    • ‘He'd often lucked into local publicity by pushing the limits of good taste, but he'd never actually set out to provoke.’
    • ‘After a few years of temporary offices, I somehow lucked into a very nice office that I happily settled 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 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.’
    • ‘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. 1.1North American Achieve success or advantage by good luck.
      ‘I lucked out and found a wonderful woman’
      • ‘I'll tell you, if he is anything like Ronny, you will have really lucked out.’
      • ‘‘I think I lucked out with this booking,’ admits Williams, who has answered the phone at the right time on more than one occasion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The two of them lucked out to have the same schedules.’
      • ‘I really lucked out because I knew what I wanted to be.’
      • ‘I really lucked out there, she's a wonderful person.’
      • ‘Still, I lucked out in my situation, unlike my brother.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can't afford to do that often… so he lucks out there.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some last minute shoppers might luck out as retailers boost perks to lure shoppers.’
      • ‘I must have lucked out, my first three West End records are still my favourite.’
      • ‘I'd never even heard of them before but I really lucked out.’
      • ‘Someone who retired on, say, January 1, 2000, might have lucked out.’
      • ‘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.)’
      • ‘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.’


  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And as luck would have it, he was coming on my birthday.’
      • ‘Anything can happen on the day and as luck would have it, it looks like the ground will be just right.’
  • tough luck

    • informal Used to express a lack of sympathy.

      ‘tough luck if they complain’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Last week I did some more interesting things, but there wasn't a weblog then, so tough luck.’
      • ‘They look at the situation and say, ‘Well, tough luck, Nova Scotia, we'll give it to New Brunswick.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In looking at the responses, I see it has annoyed more than a few of his fans - tough luck, people.’
      • ‘But tough luck, we did, and now we have to belly up to the fallout.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Well tough luck, sucker, for Washington's relief package does nothing for you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And if that doesn't suit management then tough luck.’
      • ‘So if you are young person looking to start up your own business, tough luck.’
      • ‘So all you ladies jumping on the bandwagon after this movie, tough luck, but I've got first dibs!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So for those of you who thought you could learn how to sing this good, 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’?’
      • ‘I don't care if you were hoping to see something amusing… tough luck.’
  • be in (or out of) luck

    • Be fortunate (or unfortunate)

      • ‘We were in luck, the doors magically opened for us.’
      • ‘The other 173 members of the list will be out of luck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the wreath stuck, they were in luck and their husbands would be good.’
      • ‘Though of course if you didn't want the dented ones, you were out of luck.’
      • ‘They must have looked in before, and this time they were in luck.’
      • ‘We were in luck, we had made it with half an hour to spare.’
      • ‘If it vibrates the same way, then you might be 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The home side were out of luck in the one-day competitions as well.’
      • ‘But without a certificate, the owner was out of luck.’
      • ‘He was in luck - staff pointed out the ‘Y’ beside it stood for ‘Yes’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On this occasion, though, they were 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.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the average unemployed American is out of luck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We were in luck, my test was negative, so again I did not have to make the horrendous choice.’
      • ‘Later they were out of luck when Camross beat them in the quarter finals.’
      fortunate, lucky, blessed, favoured, born under a lucky star
      successful, prosperous, happy, opportune, timely, blessed with good luck
      View synonyms
  • for luck

    • To bring good fortune.

      ‘I wear this crystal under my costume 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are others like him who choose the colour 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.’
      • ‘He produced a smooth sphere and clutched it for luck.’
      • ‘So we'll top up with another 12 UK pints 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!)’
      • ‘Both children and adults can participate in activities such as skipping rope, kicking stones, and throwing coins for luck.’
  • good (or the best of) luck

    • Used to express wishes for success.

      ‘good luck with your studies!’
      • ‘We are always wishing each other the best of luck, but you know what luck is just about worthless.’
      • ‘We congratulate Mary and wish her the best of luck in her new business venture.’
      • ‘Good luck to you and good luck to all the men and women you're working with over in Iraq.’
      • ‘The club extend thanks to all those who purchased tickets and wish them the best of luck in the four remaining draws.’
      • ‘She also wished the incoming officers the best of luck in the forthcoming year.’
      • ‘I cannot help feeling this is the best and perhaps final chance, so good luck to all concerned.’
      • ‘To our Tyrone brethren I wish the best of luck, bring Sam back to Ulster where it belongs!’
      • ‘He is wished every success and good luck in his new post by his neighbours and friends.’
      • ‘The young singer comes from a very talented musical family and everyone wishes her the best of luck on Sunday.’
      • ‘Her family and many friends wish her good luck and every success in her career.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The way I am performing I am confident of getting a medal, but it could depend on 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.’
      • ‘The great fear was being picked up by the wrong side and shot - it was just the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘If ever a team deserved to get the luck of the draw, it was Exeter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ideally, you also want to be drawn at home but it is very much the luck of the draw.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 affluent minority, meanwhile, acknowledge that their good fortune is at least in part the luck of the draw.’
  • no such luck

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

      • ‘I had planned to sleep, I tried to sleep but no such luck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The people who have to carry this policy out have no such luck.’
      • ‘Well, would that I could spin the world backwards, but no such luck.’
      • ‘A few years earlier, he would've had no such luck.’
  • 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’
      • ‘If you are not a chef, pampered or otherwise, you may be interested in trying your luck.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the casino, near the area where gamblers normally try their luck at the slot machines, authorities held scores of people after the shooting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Visitors will have the chance to try their luck in the many lotteries prepared by the organizers.’
  • with (any or a little 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’
      • ‘I was hoping for it this morning, but with luck it'll arrive tomorrow.’
      • ‘Well, with any luck, I hope they would prepare for paternity leave, actually.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Oh well with luck I wont be at the office too long.’
      • ‘She wouldn't be able to ask any questions, and with any luck, she would hopefully give it all up as a dream.’
      • ‘And with luck I may get those days at some point in May.’
      • ‘It is a project that will, with luck, focus the energies and hopes of an entire nation.’
      • ‘Maybe I'll get some editing work in this evening with luck.’
      • ‘Probably neither comparison is fair; with luck, Miles' book will provide an intelligent alternative.’
      • ‘Hopefully, with a bit of luck and by staying injury-free, I can do that as well.’
  • worse luck

    • informal Used to express regret about something.

      ‘I have to go to secretarial school, worse luck’
      • ‘Maybe even two, worse luck, because the quantity is astonishing.’
      • ‘Tickets will be like gold-dust, worse luck.’
      • ‘And worse luck, I had managed to leave Sweet William intact!’
      • ‘And worse luck if he's supposed to be on Guard duty!’
      • ‘To be sure he's dead, worse luck for him.’
      • ‘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've even served under a female Prime Minister, worse luck!’
      • ‘The next hardware store I eventually found didn't have any gates either, 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.’
      • ‘No-one was sent down to tuck me in, worse luck, but I do feel a bit better.’
      unluckily, sadly, regrettably, unhappily, woefully, lamentably, alas, sad to say, sad to relate
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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.