knock on wood (touch wood)

K - T

knock on wood
also, touch wood


  • tap knuckle on wood in order to avoid bad luck
  • said when you want good luck or a good situation to continue
  • said when expressing hope for something to occur

Example Sentences

  1. I am expecting a promotion and a big pay hike this year, touch wood.
  2. The team I support has been winning every game so far, knock on wood.
  3. We have had a great week so far, and touch wood, we will end it on a high note.
  4. We expect to close the deal by the end of this week, knock on wood.
  5. We have had a smooth journey so far, touch wood.
  6. Our new venture has got off to a great start, and touch wood, we’ll be doing profitable business by the end of the year.
  7. Your health seems to be improving. Knock on wood!


The phrase originated based on a superstition that knocking or touching wood will ward off evil spirits. Wood and trees have an association with good spirits in mythology. It was considered good luck to tap trees to let the good spirits know that you were there.

The origin of the expression is related to the druids – a high-ranking class member in ancient┬áCeltic┬ácultures who lived in what’s now Great Britain (and built Stonehenge), worshipped trees, believing that spirits lived in all wood. Whenever the druids said something about good or bad fortune, they’d knock on the wood to perk up the spirits to work in their favor. So whether we want a good thing to keep going or want to stop a bad thing from happening, we can make our request to the wood spirits by rapping our knuckles on the nearest piece of wooden furniture.

The British version of the phrase is “touch wood”, while the American version is “knock on wood.” The term originated in Latin (absit omen) in the early 17th century and came into English (British version touch wood) by 1850.

The American version – “knock on wood” was known from the early 20th century.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

I heard it had to do with spirits that were believed to be inside trees. The spirits would hear what we said and could use it against us. Therefore, we knock on wood (trees) to stir up the spirits so they get confused and forget what they heard.

‒ Timothy April 24, 2017

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