Luck – The Etymology

luck (n.) late 15c. from early Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc “happiness, good fortune,” of unknown origin. It has cognates in Dutch geluk, Middle High German g(e)lücke, German Glück “fortune, good luck.” Perhaps first borrowed in English as a gambling term. To be down on (one’s) luck is from 1832; to be in luck is from 1900; to push (one’s) luck is from 1911. Good luckas a salutation to one setting off to do something is from 1805. Expression better luck next time attested from 1802.

A gentleman was lately walking through St Giles’s, where a levelling citizen attempting to pick his pocket of a handkerchief, which the gentleman caught in time, and secured, observing to the fellow, that he had missed his aim, the latter, with perfect sang-froid, answered, “better luck next time master.”  [“Monthly Mirror,” London, 1802]

luck (v.) by 1945, from luck (n.). To luck out “succeed through luck” is American English colloquial, attested by 1946; to luck into(something good) is from 1944. However, lukken was a verb in Middle English (mid-15c.) meaning “to happen, chance;” also, “happen fortunately.”

“But, he thought, I keep them with precision. Only I have no luck anymore. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” – Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon USA

“Above all, he liked it that everything was one’s own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master. Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared.” – Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=luck&allowed_in_frame=0

http://flavorwire.com/269902/25-literary-quotes-about-luck

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1 Comment

  1. Be sure to add your own ideas in every post. Do you agree with the definition? What strikes you as strange or different than you expected? Best use of the word?
    (why do they all refer to gambling????)

    RUBRIC:

    gives some new information on the topic; informational post: has trouble with integrating read or learned information and mostly repeats without construction of new meaning; poorly organized
    post has little style or voice; words chosen show an attempt at bringing the content to life; sentence fluency is achieved in few places
    several spelling errors; several grammar errors; formatting makes post difficult to follow or read
    one piece of multimedia; multimedia does not add significantly to content or perspective; one or more links to obvious websites (Wikipedia, dictionary on line); post may be categorized or tagged
    a few information sources are cited accurately; uses citations for images improperly

    Reply

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