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.
good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance: He had no luck finding work.
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.
some object on which good fortune is supposed to depend: This rabbit's foot is my luck.

Verb Phrases Informal.


    down on one's luck, in unfortunate circumstances; unlucky: She hated to see her old friend so down on her luck.
    in luck, lucky; fortunate: We were in luck, for the bakery was still open.
    luck of the draw, the luck one has in or as if in drawing cards.
    out of luck, unlucky; unfortunate: When it comes to getting World Series tickets, we're usually out of luck.
    push one's luck, Informal. to try to make too much of an opportunity; go too far.Also crowd one's luck.

Origin of luck

1400–50; late Middle English luk < Middle Dutch luc, aphetic form of gelucke; cognate with G. Glück


[lootsk; Polish wootsk]


Polish name of Lutsk. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for luck

Contemporary Examples of luck

Historical Examples of luck

  • It would be a stroke of luck if I could stumble on one of his hiding places!

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • And he was both to batter it down, for he still had the gambler's faith in his luck.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He knows you're with us, and he knows our luck left us when you come.

  • How'll they know that it was luck—that my gun stuck in the holster—and that you jumped me on the draw?

  • Such, at least, was my luck when starting for my annual French tour in 1887.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

British Dictionary definitions for luck



events that are beyond control and seem subject to chance; fortune
success or good fortune
something considered to bring good luck
down on one's luck having little or no good luck to the point of suffering hardships
no such luck informal unfortunately not
try one's luck to attempt something that is uncertain
See also luck out

Word Origin for luck

C15: from Middle Dutch luc; related to Middle High German gelücke, late Old Norse lukka, lykka
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for luck

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with luck


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)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.