1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

lucky is as lucky does

Discussion in 'English Only' started by smk, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. smk Junior Member

    English (U.S.)
    What does the phrase "lucky is as lucky does" mean?

    Context:

    From the book, "Last Man Standing", by David Baldacci.

    He touched his chest where the other “cigar burn” was in full, blooming glory. It had entered his body and exited at the back of his shoulder, somehow skirting his Kevlar on both ends, and still had enough kick left to erase the head of a guy behind him who was about to cleave Web’s skull with a machete. And who said he wasn’t lucky? Web smiled at himself in the mirror. “Lucky is as lucky does,” he said to his reflection.
     
  2. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    There is a saying in American English:
    "Handsome is as handsome does." It is intended to remind people that it not their looks that are important, but their behavior. (Perhaps it exists in British English as well.)

    This seems to be a paraphrase of that saying, occasioned by the fact that his survival results from an instance in which he was extremely lucky.
     
  3. smk Junior Member

    English (U.S.)
    Thank you for your reply, Cagey! So, to paraphrase your explanation, the phrase means that because he's lucky he finds himself in the right place at the right time (i.e. lucky situations) (?)

    I hope I understood you correctly ;)
     
  4. Fabulist Senior Member

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I don't think so.

    The concept behind "handsome is as handsome does" is that accomplishments (what a man does), like being able to support a family, are what makes a man "handsome," not physical attractiveness—a wealthy man who can support a family is "handsome," even if he is fat and ugly.

    Therefore, I would interpret "lucky is as lucky does" to mean that it is good fortune that is the proof of being lucky. Your "context" is ambiguous because you weren't allowed to quote enough, so I am not entirely sure who "he" is.

    Perhaps a bullet passed through Web but because it skirted his Kevlar (body armor) it missed his vital organs and didn't kill or seriously wound him, but still killed a man behind him who was about to split his skull with a cleaver.

    Or perhaps a bullet aimed at Web took out "him" because it did skirt his body armor, and then also killed the man who was going to split Web's skull.

    In either case, Web was very lucky. His escape from sulch a dire situation is the proof of his luckiness.
     
  5. smk Junior Member

    English (U.S.)
    "he" and "his" refer to Web.
     

Share This Page