I wish upon the star

Discussion in 'English Only' started by L.2, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. L.2 Senior Member

    Saudi Arabia
    What does this phrase mean? If I said I wish upon the star you come back does that mean I worship the star or think it can answer my prayers?
  2. englishgirl89 New Member

    The usual phrase is "to wish upon a star" not "the star"

    eg the line from a song in the Disney film Pinocchio "when you wish upon a star your dreams come true"

    So yes it means that the star can answer your wishes, not that you worship the star.
  3. L.2 Senior Member

    Saudi Arabia
    Thanks englishgirl
  4. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    When I was a child there was a tradition (at least in our family and among my friends) of looking for the first evening star and wishing upon it.

    You would say:

    "Star light, star bright
    First star I see tonight
    I wish I may, I wish I might
    Have this wish I wish tonight."

    I have no idea of the origin of the poem, but I can tell you that I took the whole thing very seriously as a child. :)
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  5. bluegiraffe

    bluegiraffe Senior Member

    Nottingham, England
    English - England
    Not just a US tradition JamesM, we did that too as children.
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    That's good to know. I hope it survives.
  7. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Suppose a kid just gave his brother an early Christmas-gift list and had him pass it on to their parents. His brother frowned upon at the list and told the kid he would be in for a disappointment because most of the items were too expensive for them to afford. The kid argued back that all of the things in the list would be discounted by the time Christmas rolled around, fitting well within their budgets. Then the kid added with a wink, " I did my homework before I made a wish upon them."

    Would you use "make a wish upon" with a person who can answer your wishes? Could I use it this way for a measly bit of humorous effect?
  8. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    When you say "I did my homework" do you mean that he did his school work or that he researched the things on the list?
    It doesn't make sense to say that he wished upon "them" as that would be an individual wish for each item and the items aren't there (you wish on something you can see or touch). He may have made a wish about them.
    "On"/"upon" is indicating that you are wishing upon an object - a star, a lucky coin, a four-leafed clover, a pie-bald horse. You don't wish upon a genie, but ask the genie to grant your wish.
  9. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    So, when you wish upon a star, you do not ask the star to grant you your wish or make the wish come true.
    That dream or wish could be, for example, becoming an astronaut.
    Is that the meaning of Jiminy Cricket's expression ""when you wish upon a star your dreams come true?"
    I understand that "wishing upon a star" is not "sending a request to a star."
    It is enough to have a look at a star or a lucky coin and make a wish and that wish will be granted.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  10. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Right. The star is not thought to have the power to grant a wish.
    It's more like a sign of good luck.
    According to superstition (I hope no one will be offended by this term), seeing the first star of the evening is the signal of a special situation: the opportunity to make a wish.
  11. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    In Polish Christmas tradition, seeing the first star of the evening is the signal to start the Christmas Eve meal, but seeing a falling star is considered lucky. Finding a four-leaf clover is a good opportunity to make a wish.
    So when I see a lucky object I make a wish upon it.

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