Difference between having good luck and being lucky?

Hi all!

Since I have a discussion at another topic a question came up in my mind! I mean the translation of having good luck into German the word “Gl?ck” mostly include situations where you don?t have big influence on. It mostly refers to situations which happens to a person making him/her a fortune. Against what being lucky (in German translation “gl?cklich sein”) mostly refers to situations at which a person achieves a goal and is caused by that more than satisfied!

What do you think about that?


Hi Michael

If you are a lucky person, that means you always have a lot of good luck. It’s not something you can really control. Good things just seem to happen. :smiley:

The German word gl?cklich is often best translated with happy or contented (just the way you described it ;)).

Sometimes you’re happy as a result of being lucky, but often you’re happy because you’ve done all the things necessary to become happy.


Exactly Amy. You can be lucky but not happy or happy but not lucky. You can also be lucky and at the same time happy because you are so lucky. Most people who are happy also seem to be lucky most of the time.

Happy thinking and good luck,

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…You also can bring luck to smb. (even nor being lucky, not happy in yourself. Just being a mascot for smb.) :slight_smile:

Definitely, people, who believe in different marks, signs, tokens, etc. (‘for good luck’, ‘for bad luck’) have much closer relations with hard luck :slight_smile:

By the way: in my culture a black cat is strongly for bad luck. Especially when crossing your way…
Now I live in the UK, where black cats are for good luck. Lot of black cats around! and they cross my way every day.
It might be they I deprive me of good part of my (due :slight_smile: ) luck… but I don’t believe in it and quite happy to see them :slight_smile:

Hi Tamara

If I believe that somebody or something brings me good luck, then I might call that person or thing my lucky charm.

That’s interesting. The superstition in the US is that black cats bring bad luck, but I guess almost nobody really believes that superstition anymore. Nevertheless, it’s still well-known.

My sister has two cats: one cat is black and the other one is black and white. Her black cat is named “Blackie”. Blackie only seems to bring bad luck to the other cat … because he often steals the other cat’s food. :lol:


Hi Ami

Thanks for the cat story and for

As for my ears, charm sounds as being a French word, mascot – as, maybe, African or American Indian.

Anyway, though it’s funny and stupid, there are some superstitions (and rules) that I never break. And my children do either. :slight_smile:
For example, to be lucky when taking exams (just today my son is taking his GSCE, Science separate, exam), you should put a five-kopeck coin in your left shoe just under your heel. This is a very old student’s superstition… and quite reliable :slight_smile: Sure, it works :slight_smile:

Also, in some (many?) cultures there is a general rule (in variations) that I would express as ‘to be lucky, don’t scare your luck off’.
For example, in my culture it’s definitely for bad luck to talk about some good results (of a critical activity or action) in advance.

One interesting saying (in East Slavonic culture) is when someone is going to make risky thing (exams :slight_smile: ) to wish: Nor a fuzz, nor a feather! (sorry for my poor direct translation, but I don’t know an analogue. Maybe, Pamela knows.)
And the right response for it is To devil!

As I know, it came from a hunter context. And it means exactly the same as ‘good luck!’ (So, the same thing here: direct wishing of bad luck, together with your right response, must reverse and bring you a good luck).


Hi Tamara

Actually, mascot apparently also came into English from French (mascotte)

The way I would understand the meaning of mascot today would be as a symbol and/or good luck charm for a team or an organization (i.e., not just for one person, but rather for a group of people).

But a lucky charm is often something for just one person.

That reminds me of the expression “Break a leg!” which began as a way to wish an actor good luck before a performance so that his performance would be a good one. :smiley: It’s the same sort of thing that you mentioned: wishing someone bad luck in order to make sure the opposite happens. :lol:


Thanks, Amy, for the above explanation.

Just to illustrate another case of this:

Many native Russians, after saying, for example, ‘Tomorrow from 11 till 12 I am having an important interview.’ perhaps will add: ‘Swear me during the time, please!’

This means that if you are not a false, but true friend :), then, at stated time, you must start thinking about the person negatively, - something like ‘He is bad, good-for-nothing, a perfect fool and sluggard, not competent and lazy, he doesn’t deserve the position he wishes to get’ :slight_smile:

Certainly, it’ll help him to do his best and to win :slight_smile: :smiley:


But how about breaking the spell?

If you did something wrong or it just happened (and now this evil omen drags your to your bad luck :slight_smile: ), what are you doing?
Turning round several times? Saying something special? Knocking on wood? Spitting (or making a show of that) three times behind your left shoulder? …
(The last two are traditional ways for Russians to get good luck back - when we did or said something that could scare it away :slight_smile: )

P.S. Sorry for off-topic…


The German conterfy is stil much more drastic: “Breaking neck and leg!” :shock:

Hmmmm… If [color=blue]Torsten would answer your P.S. he probably would say: Don?t worry! Communication is an ongoing process and everything may happen there…!


You’ve hit the nail on the head, Michael. :smiley:

And that brings me to another off-topic thought. It’s really interesting sometimes to see how different countries or cultures talk about exactly the same thing. Does the point of view tell us anything about those cultures?

For example, when you lose something, say at an airport, where do you go to find out whether those lost things have been found?

In the UK: the lost property office
In Germany: the found property office
In the USA: the lost and found



Michael, instead of saying “stil much more drastic”, it would be better to say “even more drastic”. And did you mean “counterpart” when you wrote “conterfy” :?:

Exactly Michael. As long as we write in English, we can talk about anything. The good thing with a forum is that once a discussion starts, anyone join can join on in and bring up new questions.[YSaerTTEW443543]

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Oh my God! What good souls!..
Would it proper, if a wife said it when a husband is going to ride his thoroughbred? Just to wish him bon voyage I mean, nothing bad :slight_smile: )

The same in Russia.

Pessimistic viewpoint: my glass is already half-empty…
Optimistic view: my glass is still half-filled (half-full)!

P.S. Off-topic :slight_smile: :
Pessimist: The things are going so wrong; nothing worse can happen…
Optimist: It can, it can. It will!