10 ways to say good luck in Italian along with a few sayings - ouritalianjourney.com

Good Luck in Italian

Knowing how to say “good luck” in Italian can be useful when interacting with your Italian friends. In fact, superstitions are common throughout Italy. This is especially true in the southern part of the peninsula. Some regions even have good luck charms to ward off bad luck!

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Many studies have shown that Italians are the most superstitious people in Europe. So let’s explore in this post some of the best ways to say “good luck” in Italian. You definitely wouldn’t want to say it incorrectly – that’s for sure!

Note: The usage of these terms depends on the relationship you have with the person you are addressing.

1. Buona fortuna

English translation: Good luck

This is the most commonly used form of wishing someone good luck that you can use. It’s a phrase suitable for many situations.

2. Auguri

English translation: Best wishes

This word is a general wish for best wishes or good luck. Italians use the word to wish people well on occasions such as taking an exam or opening a new business. You can also use this word to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or graduation.

3. In Bocca al Lupo 

English translation: Break a leg

In Bocca al lupo - good luck in Italian - ouritalianjourney.com

This phrase literally means “in the mouth of the wolf,” and can be traced back to ancient times of people warding off bad luck.

A traditional response to hearing “in bocca al lupo” would be to say, “crepi il lupo” which translates to the meaning; “may the wolf die.”

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4. Buone Cose  

English translation: Good things

This phrase is used in a way that means “I wish good things for you.” While it’s not a good luck phrase, it’s a way to wish someone well in various situations. 

5. Incrociamo le Dita! 

English translation: Fingers crossed

As we cross our fingers for luck, this phrase is a common expression used to convey good luck or express hope for a positive outcome in a situation. 

6. Tocchiamo Ferro 

English translation: Knock on wood

When Italians use the phrase “tocchiamo ferro,” translated it means “let’s touch iron“ – or, sending positive vibes. I’m not sure how the action of touching a hot iron will help ward off any potential negativity.

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7. Che Dio ce la Mandi Buona

English translation: May God Send us a Good One

Among the many ways to say “good luck” in Italian, this phrase invokes God sending forth goodness and positivity.

8. Spero che Vada Tutto Bene 

English translation: I hope everything goes well

This is another straightforward phrase to say “good luck” in Italian. It’s frequently used to convey support and encouragement to someone in a kind and thoughtful way.

9. Tanta Merda 

English translation: Break a leg

So this one is a bit odd. The literal translation of “tanta merda” is “a lot of shit” in English. (Sorry for the use of the word). However, this phrase is significant in the world of theatre – as it’s a way to wish for the successful outcome of a show.

10. Auguri e Figli Maschi 

Literal meaning: Best wishes and male children

A very old Italian expression wishing newlyweds good luck. Back in the day, the presence of at least one male child was considered essential, as he would carry on the father’s surname and might contribute to the family’s income.

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Symbols: Good Luck in Italian

Let’s go from good luck words to good luck symbols. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with most of these but let’s see…

1. Il Corno Portafortuna – The Good Luck Horn

Horn keychain, an italian superstition

I think the red horn – corno – is the most common symbol to ward off bad luck. It’s also referred to as a cornetto – but not the kind you eat for breakfast! The corno represents strength and good fortune. You’ll find these red horns which resemble red peppers hanging on rear-view mirrors in cars, necklaces, and keychains. Especially in southern Italy.

2. TrediciNumber 13

Throughout Italy, the number thirteen is seen as a number for good luck. The only time I’m aware that this number would be unlucky is the number of people at a dinner table.

3. Il Ferro di Cavallo – Horseshoe

Mainly in the south, you might notice homes with a horseshoe facing upwards above the main door to bring good luck.

4. Le Lenticchie – Lentils

Eating lentils on New Year’s Eve or Day is supposed to bring good fortune. But do you know why? Lentils resemble small coins. Consuming these legumes symbolizes your openness to receiving good luck and fortune throughout the year!

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5. La Coccinella – The Ladybug

In continuing with red good luck symbols – ladybugs also represent good luck and fortune. Their black spots are believed to represent the “Seven Sorrows” of the Catholic faith.

Good Luck in Italian Conclusion

I’m all for having good luck charms and people wishing me well. I also want to make sure I reciprocate by saying it the correct way so as not to jinx anything as Italians are really superstitious. I remember going to wish someone a happy birthday the day before their actual birthday as I didn’t think I would see them. Ohhhhh…. that wasn’t good.

So… I’d love to know how many of these you knew or heard growing up. I’d also be curious to know if they were the same or a different version. Do tell!

Buon Anno – Happy New Year!

10 ways to say good luck in Italian along with a few sayings - ouritalianjourney.com


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