touch wood, knock on wood

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Encolpius, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Hello, I just wonder if your native language uses that saying and how it is translated into English. It is used when you have just mentioned some way in which you have been lucky in the past, to avoid bringing bad luck. Thanks.

    Hungarian. Hogy lekopogjam. (to knock it)
    Czech. Musím to zaklepat. (I have to knock it)
  2. StefKE

    StefKE Senior Member

    French - Belgium
    In French we say: 'Touchons du bois'. Which means: 'Let's touch wood'.
  3. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    In Arabic it's دق الخشب - duqq al-khashab - knock wood.
  4. valo__fan

    valo__fan Senior Member

    In Turkish:
    Tahtaya vur.(knock on wood)
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  5. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)

    Auf Holz klopfen.

    (Literally the same as "knock on wood".)
    But it is used rather when reporting something from the past where you were lucky to confirm (with a knock on wood) that indeed this was great luck, with no real thought of avoiding bad luck in the future with it.

    But if two people say the exact same words simultanuously it is common to knock on wood and say "The luck is mine!" (= "Mir gehört das Glück!") - the one who is fastest "gets" the luck. This however isn't done any more out of belief that they really catch luck this way - it's more meant ironic. (Well, there might actually be some people around who are superstituous enough to really believe this.)
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    I'm glad, here is a German message, so I can ask you how about
    Toi, toi, toi!
    I just foud it in a dictionary but not sure when to use it. Thanks a lot.
  7. ilaria77 Member

    In Italian we say "tocchiamo ferro" (let's touch iron)
  8. Sionees Member

    England, UK
    Welsh - Wales
    Interesting Mahaodeh, that even Arabic uses this expression, as I thought the origin of the term involved the wood of the cross on which Jesus Christ died. Whilst Jesus was/is indeed A prophet to Muslims, he is not THE Prophet (pbuh). Just curious therefore to know if this image of 'touching wood for good luck' is still extant amongst Islamic culture generally...
  9. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There is the same expression in Portuguese, bate/bata na madeira, "knock on wood". This is used to ward off bad luck, especially when talking something in the future that you don't want to go wrong.
  10. Trisia

    Trisia Senior Member

    Romanians use the same: "bate-n lemn" (knock on wood). Used like described above (Outsider).
  11. dana Haleana

    dana Haleana Senior Member

    Philippines - Filipino
    We do not have an exact translation for knock on wood but in our hometown we use buyag then we would knock any form of wood in the area. This is pwera usug in tagalog.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  12. Juri Senior Member

    Koper, near Trieste
    For Encolpius:
    Toi,Toi,Toi! means to spit three times for good luck;very used in the theatre, where because of superstition, actors f.i.don't were purple costumes, or it is forbidden to open an umbrella on the stage.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  13. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Come people, there are so many languages left. Please, contribute! :idea:
  14. fergalo New Member

    Sacs-Bhéarla, Ireland
    In Irish: iarmhartach ar adhmaid
  15. fergalo New Member

    Sacs-Bhéarla, Ireland
    It's probably pre-christian. All those Celts in the oak-groves in search of mistletoe...
  16. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, I hear more "Je touche du bois" ("I'm touching wood") than "Touchons du bois".
    We can also add:
    "Je touche du bois (& you usually knock on a table or something supposedly made out of wood) et de la peau de singe (literally = "monkey's skin" and you touch your head, or arm,... ;))
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  17. fergalo New Member

    Sacs-Bhéarla, Ireland
    In English, "touch wood" and American, "knock on wood" the speaker often taps his head, for want of anything more wooden.
  18. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:
    «κτυπάω/κτυπώ ξύλο» [kti'pa.o 'ksilo] (uncontracted verb)/ [kti'po 'ksilo] (contracted verb)
    «χτυπάω/χτυπώ ξύλο» [xti'pa.o 'ksilo] (uncontracted verb)/ [xti'po 'ksilo] (contracted verb)
    Both can be used but the «χτυπάω/χτυπώ» version of the verb, prevails in the vernacular.
    Lit. "to knock (on) wood".
  19. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog: Hampas sa Kahoy.
  20. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Mataripis, could you please give a literal translation: do you use "kock" or "touch"?
  21. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    the word "hampas" is not just touching but it is as strong as hitting an object with force.But the literal translation is let the bad luck be on wood and not on you.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  22. qnk Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Castilian Spanish
    In Spanish we say tocar madera.

    Since tocar is an infinitive it must be conjugated conveniently. For example: toco, tocaré, toquemos, toca, among most commonly heard.
  23. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    It's knock in Russian.

    постучи по дереву /postutchi po derevu/ - knock [several times] on wood

    The gesture is to knock on wood (or on own head for lack of other wood:D) with knuckles.
  24. ahaz New Member

    Norway, Norwegian
    Ok Norwegian se say Bank i bordet, knock on the table
  25. estelada New Member

    Catalonia - Catalan
    Hello :)

    Though I can see this thread is a bit of an 'oldie', I'd like to contribute: In Catalan, we say 'tocar ferro' which means: 'to touch iron'. Same as in Italian.

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