Third attempt - lucky?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by rusita preciosa, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In your culture, is there a opinion / saying that the third attempt is the lucky one, or that it takes three attempts to achieve something?

    In English they say third time is the charm
    Russians say God loves three's (trinity).

    Or may be you have the same concept but with a different number?
  2. Ushuaia

    Ushuaia Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    castellano rioplatense
    In Spanish we have "la tercera es la vencida", with the same meaning.

    "Three is the magic number" applies to many languages! :)
  3. PABLO DE SOTO Senior Member

    Spain Spanish
    In Spanish we say a la tercera va la vencida when you try to do something once, twice .... and at your third attempt you get what you wanted.

    A la tercera va la vencida appears in my dictionary like "third time lucky".
  4. MOC Senior Member

    In Portugal we say "À terceira é de vez" meaning, if we didn't achieve what we were supposed to by now (two attempts), we'll do it right, the third time.

    Literally it means "the third time around it's final" or maybe "the third time around it's for real"
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  5. Adolfo Afogutu

    Adolfo Afogutu Senior Member


    Yes, sure, but we also have “No hay dos sin tres”, which surely contradicts the belief of “third time lucky”. Which one will prevail? A 50/50 chance? Old sayings are rarely right, don’t you think so?
  6. la_machy

    la_machy Senior Member

    Hermosillo, Sonora, México.
    Español de Sonora
    In México we also say 'la tercera es la buena' (third one is the good one).

  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    We also say, "Three strikes and you're out!" This means that if you try something three
    times and do not succeed, you are done, finished, unable to continue. It comes from baseball, but is used broadly in a figurative sense for any other activities.
  8. RaLo18 Senior Member

    In Hebrew we say פעם שלישית גלידה (pa'am shlishit glida), third time ice cream.
  9. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    In Britain we say "third time lucky"
  10. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    In German you say "Aller guten Dinge sind drei" - "All good things are three"
  11. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    By the way rusita, I have never heard "third time is the charm" Maybe it is an expression from the USA.

    Other expressions with three
    "All good things come in threes"

    and the ironic one in British English "You wait for a bus for ages then three come along all at once!"

    "Two is company, three is none"
  12. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I"m not sure I understand the meaning of this expression. Does it mean something like "two is better than three / three is too many"?

    I always hear third time is the charm, may be it is mostly an AE saying.
  13. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    What a lovely saying! :)
  14. Ushuaia

    Ushuaia Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    castellano rioplatense
    Yo he escuchado y leído bastante "three is a charm" (probablemente de este lado del charco -y de aquel lado del Ecuador). :)
  15. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    But this phrase is not used when you fail twice and succeed at the third attempt. You say it when you meet someone for the second time by chance, meaning that if you meet him/her again the third time, you'll buy him/her ice cream (or the way around, it's never clear ;). It should be noted that even if there's a third coincidental meeting ice cream is never actually bought, it's just a set expression).
  16. RaLo18 Senior Member

    This phrase was originally used when you meet someone twice, but nowadays, I hear it used for many other purposes, including before your third attempt at something.
  17. Outlandish

    Outlandish Senior Member

    In the Egyptian dialect we say El-Talta Tabta (originally: El-Thaltha Thabta). It literally means, 'third time adheres/sticks/scores'. It means that the third time you or somebody do somthing will not fail. Like for example if a soccer team loses two certain chances for scoring, then it scores in the third time peope would say el-talta tabta.
  18. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    Two´s company three´s none. It simply means that if three people go out together, two will be friendlier and the third person will be left out.
  19. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    I have heard "third time is the charm" used frequently here in California. I also heard the expression "All good things come in threes" used quite often while I was in Norway for 5 1/2 weeks this fall.
  20. ewhite

    ewhite Senior Member

    Two's company, three's a crowd is a similar expression in AE.
  21. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    In Serbian, we say "treća sreća", which would mean, more or less, the third one is the lucky one.
  22. Muwahid

    Muwahid Senior Member

    U.S. English
    The third time's the charm, or three's a charm are common expressions in the USA, usually said if you botch something two times, and are going to try again.
  23. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Three as a number is considered lucky in many cultures (see also the Wiki article on 3) - not only in cultures influenced by Christianity (where the Trinity goes back to three being considered lucky in pre-Christian Classical culture).

    Three attempts, likewise, are considered lucky in many cultures; it has been stated about many European languages and cultures already.
    Even in fairy tales you often read of three attempts where the third one is lucky, or three sons or daughters of which the first two are evil and the third one is good. :)
  24. beakman Senior Member

    The same is in Spanish: Dos es companía, tres es multitud.
  25. ajo fresco

    ajo fresco Senior Member

    It's true, in the U.S. we say "third time's the charm."

    On the other hand, we also say "death comes is threes" (when someone dies, two more people will die soon).

    So this idea of things happening in threes can be lucky or unlucky, depending on the situation.
  26. spodulike

    spodulike Senior Member

    Brighton, England
    English - England
    If we are lucky enough to find a magic lantern and a genie appears then we will be granted three wishes.
  27. Souxie

    Souxie Senior Member

    South of France
    French - France
    In French we say jamais deux sans trois: never two times without a third one. It means two attempts are often followed by a third one, and the third one will happen to be the same kind. It is a way to say that fate doesn't change between the second and the third time. We often use it about bad or weird situations. It's not the optimistic version, I really do prefer most of yours ;)

    I almost forgot that there is also a positive French expression la troisième c'est la bonne, it means the same as yours: the third is the good one.

    But I guess we are more bowed to think with the first jamais deux sans trois. I think in a way French people are not pushed in their culture to be optimistic.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  28. slowik Senior Member

    In Poland we say Do trzech razy sztuka which is difficult for me to translate, though it definitely means that the third time you do something might be lucky (if previous attempts were unsuccessful).
  29. kidika

    kidika Senior Member

    Península Ibérica
    Castellano de Castilla
    I´d say that every saying has another one that contradicts it, so they are always right, one or the other!:D
  30. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    It is outdated, but there are still people who remember "three on a match" (lighting three cigarettes from the same match) as bad luck.
  31. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    In Japanese we say, 三度目の正直 [Sandome-no shōjiki], or "a third time honesty." Perhaps the universe gets honest at our third attempt and let us through or something.

    But we also say, 二度あることは三度ある [Nido arukoto-wa sando aru], or "a thing that happens twice, happens thrice."
  32. Adolfo Afogutu

    Adolfo Afogutu Senior Member

    This Sunday all Spaniards will pray this old saying was wrong, don’t you think so?
    It will be Holland's third attempt to win a World Cup final…:D
  33. Nonstar

    Nonstar Senior Member

    the outskirts of inner pantyhoses
    In-love-with-the-coming-race Portuguese
  34. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Do třetice všeho dobrého i zlého

    In three all good and bad
  35. suso26

    suso26 Senior Member

    Spanish México.
    I think that that's another meaning, not the one treated here and think that means like in the spanish: "Hacer un mal tercio" :) (when there is a couple plus "one person", or playing as gooseberry, or odd man out)... but not the third chance to finally succeed.. :D
  36. Vasiliy Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    In dutch we say: Derde keer, goeie keer - wich translates to: Third one, good one
  37. seyif Member

    In Turkish there is something similar:
    Allah'ın hakkı üçtür.
    It means roughly "The God permits you to try three times".
  38. Valvs Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    The belief (or the superstition, if you will) that it is bad luck to light more than two cigarettes from one match still is known in Russia as well, especially in the military. I've heard it worded in a number of different ways, like "Three persons don't light cigarettes from one match", etc. I am not sure when or how we borrowed it from the British, all I know is it was already known in Russia by 1940s.
  39. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    In Finnish we say: Kolmas kerta toden sanoo (the third time tells the truth).

    On the other hand, we have a saying about drinking:
    One drink is not enough.
    Two drinks is OK.
    Three drinks is again not enough.
  40. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I've heard or read that the the origin of this belief has its roots in the Boer wars (1880-1902). During the night, two men could light their cigarettes but if the match was kept for a third soldier the snipers from the other side had time enough to aim and shoot. This may be a legend but it's a good one, I think.
  41. Ushuaia

    Ushuaia Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    castellano rioplatense
    Around here we say "they see the first one, aim at the second and shoot the third" (al primero lo ven, al segundo le apuntan, al tercero le disparan). It may well be a legend, but it's a widely spread one!
  42. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Macedonian has (од) трета мајка (literally "(from) a third mother") or трета среќа ("third luck").
  43. Dateunavueltaenelaire Senior Member

    The same one in spanish "Dos son compañía, tres son multitud".
  44. Iratxo

    Iratxo Senior Member

    Alegia (Gipuzkoa)
    Spanish - Spain / Basque
    También hay un equivalente de "a la tercera va la vencida" en euskera: hirugarrenean asmatu (a la tercera acertarás)
  45. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    We also have a superstition that the deaths of famous people come in threes. I often hear people speculating who will be the third celebrity if two die in close succession.
  46. Minnie121728

    Minnie121728 Senior Member

    Santo Domingo
    La tercera es la vencida, decimos tambien por aca, queriendo decir que en el tercer intento te las juegas todas, o se determina tu leer todos los posts, me doy cuenta de que la creencia es a nivel mundial, definitivamente hay algo con "la tercera vez"...
  47. Holymaloney

    Holymaloney Senior Member

    English (UK) / Italian - bilingual
    Yes - this is true in Italy too. If I remember correctly it comes from the WW1 when the soldiers were lying in the trenches and they lit up their fags:
    1st soldier strikes the match and lights his cigarette (and the light is seen by the enemy), he lights the second soldier's one with the same match (the enemy takes aim) and then the 3rd soldier has his cigarette lit (the enemy fires)
    I think I got it right but can anyone confirm this?
    Cheers ;)
  48. Leica Senior Member

    In Germany it's beer (of course it is. :D ) or another drink instead of icecream.
    I don't know if it's a common expression, but many people say: "Beim nächsten mal gibste einen aus!" or "Beim nächstenmal geb ich ein Bier aus."
  49. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    We, Poles also tend to believe that the third attempt of some endeavour is likely to be the successful one. The phrase we trot out is "Do trzech razy sztuka". Unfortunately, it does not lend itself to translation as readily as phrases in other countries, but I'll give it a try anyway. "Sztuka" stands for "an art". The closest translation I can think of would be "It takes three attempts for an art to succeed" :D In Polish, if something is "sztuką" (an art) it is difficult to achieve. "Sztuką jest bezbłędnie zdać ten egzamin" - "It is an art to pass this test without making a single mistake".

    Anyway, I'm not superstitious and this saying doesn't ring true to me. If something doesn't go my way, I won't succeed, not even doing it for the third time. I lately hoped that this adage will turn out to be true for the first time in my life, when I was passing a driving test for the third time... but no such luck :mad:

    By the way, which one is more common in UK - the third time's a charm or third time lucky?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  50. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    The Russians kiss three times when parting, for example, make a sign of the cross three times, and do some other things three times. Three is a number for good luck, in a way.

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