Idioms about LUCK – Do you know all 20? (Video+Free PDF)

In this post, you will learn some English expressions with LUCK and more than 20 different ways to use them in natural conversation. If you want to learn English, you’re IN LUCK!

good luck/bad luck
with some luck, with any luck, with a little luck
to be in luck
any luck?
as luck would have it
tough luck
be down on your luck
the best of luck
better luck next time
for luck
good luck charm
good luck to somebody
just my/somebody’s luck
the luck of the draw
no such luck
push your luck
try your luck

Learn what the idioms mean and see them used in real example sentences. Keep reading…

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Learn 20 English expressions with LUCK

To begin, let’s review the meaning of the word luck.
luck (click the word for the definition link)
Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries dot com lists 2 uses for the noun luck.

  1. good things that happen to you by chance, not because of your own efforts or abilities

  2. chance; the force that causes good or bad things to happen to people

How we use LUCK #1

Definition #1 only has a positive feeling. This is common when we want to encourage or support someone. We might say “Lots of luck” to a friend or family member to support them. The word luck has no adjectives in front of it, (good luck or bad luck) but it is understood as positive.

Here are a few ways it is used in English conversation. In all these examples the meaning of luck is good.

We often say with some luck, with any luck, with a little luck to show we have a chance of success at something.

  • I have to finish this big assignment before Wednesday. It’s almost done and with some luck, I think I can have it ready.
  • With a little luck, there won’t be heavy traffic tonight and we can get home early.
  • We’re playing the top-ranked team tomorrow. It will be a hard game but with a little luck, we can beat them.

To be in luck = lucky

A: I forgot to bring a sweater. It will be cold tonight.
B: You’re in luck, I have an extra sweater in my car.
= You are lucky because I have an extra sweater that you can wear.

*The opposite of in luck is out of luck.

A: Are there any donuts left? I saw some this morning in the break room.
B: Sorry Clark, they’re all gone. You’re out of luck.

= There are no donuts for you. Unlucky.

We are out of donuts and you're out of luck.

IN, OUT, and OF are prepositions. Learn 50 of the Most Common English Prepositions with lots of examples at my post.

To have no luck means to not have good luck, to not be lucky.

  • I want to move but I’ve had no luck finding an apartment I can afford that is close to my office.
    = I’ve had no success in finding an apartment that is good for me. I wasn’t lucky.

Luck can run out. This also means “to not be lucky.”

  • Our school tennis champ Kelly was on a 9-game winning streak, but she lost her match yesterday. I guess her luck ran out.

    (A winning streak is when you win several games in a row, you win back-to-back)

Click the link to see more uses for luck at Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries.

English expressions with LUCK definition #2

The following English expressions with luck have the meaning from definition #2. This version is often used with the adjectives GOOD and BAD. It refers to something that happened that was beyond your control (you didn’t cause this to happen) that had a positive (good) or negative (bad) effect on you. 

Good luck

  • I shot a hole-in-one on Saturday. I’m really not a good golfer, it was just good luck.

The most common way we use the phrase “good luck” is to encourage someone before a game, job interview, test, or other challenge or event in their life.

A: My chemistry final is tomorrow.
B: Good luck on the test!

A: I’m running my first half marathon tomorrow.
B: Wow! That will be a great accomplishment. Good luck!

It’s also common to ask someone for luck when you have a big challenge or event with the phrase: “Wish me luck.”

  • My chemistry final is tomorrow, wish me luck.
  • I’m running my first half marathon tomorrow. Wish me luck.
English expressions with LUCK. Wish me luck. Cross your fingers.

Bad luck

Bad luck is a thing that you can have or experience because of something negative that was out of your control.

  • We planned a huge family picnic on Sunday. Many of my family members traveled a long way to come here, but there was a big thunderstorm on Sunday so we had to cancel. What bad luck.

The noun luck can be used with other positive and negative adjectives too.

  • I overslept this morning and I was late for work. My boss would have been so angry at me, but he suddenly got called to an emergency meeting in New York. No one noticed that I was late! What amazing luck!

*It’s also very common to use the adjective LUCKY in this situation.

I was very lucky!

  • Many family members traveled a long way to come here, but there was a big thunderstorm on Sunday so we had to cancel. What terrible luck.
  • What awful luck.

Any luck?

​- used to ask somebody if they have been successful with something

A: I asked for a raise this morning.
B: Any luck? (Were you successful in getting a raise?)
A: The boss said the company doesn’t have the money now so I should ask again in 3 months.

As luck would have it

​- in the way that chance decides what will happen

  • I have an important meeting this morning and, as luck would have it, there is a big traffic jam on the highway.

We can say bad luck, tough luck, etc. to show sympathy for somebody who experienced something bad.

  • Bad luck, Kelly, you played very well.
    (This has the feeling that it was not Kelly’s fault that she lost, it was because of bad luck.)

A: I failed the test by only one point!
B: One point! Wow, that’s tough luck.

These sentences show sympathy for the person you are talking to.

The noun sympathy means – a feeling of being sorry for somebody; showing that you understand and care about somebody’s problems.

Tough luck can also be used to show that you do not feel sorry for somebody who has a problem. 

A: The donuts are gone? I didn’t get one today.
B: Tough luck, you ate 4 yesterday!

The fact that you don’t care is usually clear by the sound of your voice. Compare these two examples in the audio below.

In the first example, I feel sorry for the speaker’s problem, and in the second example, I do not. Compare the sound and speed of my voice in both versions.

Tough luck – 2 audio examples

A: I failed the test by only one point!
B: One point! Wow, that’s tough luck.

A: The donuts are gone? I didn’t get one today.
B: Tough luck, you ate 4 yesterday!

More English expressions with LUCK

Be down on your luck

​- to have no money because of a period of bad luck

A: I haven’t seen Brad lately. Have you?
B: Mike talked to him yesterday. He lost his job and doesn’t have much money now. He‘s really down on his luck.

The best of luck (with something), Good luck (with something)

– used to wish somebody success with something

  • I heard you have to make a big presentation at work on Monday. Best of luck with that.

Better luck next time

​- used to encourage somebody who has not been successful at something

A: I applied for a manager position at my company, but I didn’t get it.
B: Better luck next time. I’m sure another job will become available in the future, and you’ll have more experience then.

For luck

​- because you believe it will bring you good luck, or because this is a traditional belief

  • I found an interesting key in the forest when I was 11. It’s in my wallet now, I always carry it for luck.
  • They are deciding who gets the new manager position today at work. I hope I get it! Honey, give me a kiss for luck!

An item that you keep for luck is called a good luck charm.

English expressions with LUCK. Good luck charm.

Do you have a GOOD LUCK CHARM? Tell me what it is in the comments. (Mine is a coin. I always carry it in my wallet.)

Good luck to somebody

​- used to say that you do not mind what somebody does as it does not affect you, but you hope they will be successful

  • Owen has joined a group trying to climb K2. It seems dangerous so I wouldn’t want to try it, but good luck to him.

Just my/somebody’s luck

– used to show you are not surprised something bad has happened to you because you are not often lucky

  • I left work early today but there was a big accident on the highway so I still got home late. Just my luck.
I'm supposed to play golf this afternoon. Just my luck.

The luck of the draw

​- the fact that chance decides something, in a way that you cannot control

  • The tournament matches are chosen by lottery. If you face a strong team or a weak team in the first round is just the luck of the draw.

No such luck

​- used to show disappointment that something you were hoping for did not happen

A: Did you get an easy match in the first round of the tournament?
B: No such luck. We will face one of the strongest teams in our first game.

Did you ever wonder… Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? Visit my blog post to learn the answer.

Push your luck

​(informal) to take a risk because you have successfully avoided problems in the past

  • The last time you were late the boss was away, but don’t push your luck. Eventually, you’ll get caught and the boss will be mad!

– We can also say ~ push it/things to have the same feeling.

  • The last time you were late the boss was away, but don’t push it.

Try your luck (at something)

​- to do something that involves risk or luck, hoping to succeed

  • After James had to close his cafe in the mall he decided to open a new one beside the movie theater. He wants to try his luck there. Maybe it will be a better location for him.
Jim will try his luck beside the movie theater.

I hope the English expressions with LUCK that you learned in this post will be useful for you. The example sentences will help you use these idioms and expressions in your own English conversations. Sound like a native!

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