Monday, February 15, 2010

Do You Knock on Wood?

Knocking on wood, The expression is usually used in the hope that a good thing will continue to occur after it has been acknowledged. So, for example, one might say: "The rain looks like it's holding, knock on wood", or "Knock on wood, I'm much better now." Another example would be "I have never had to use my gun before, knock on wood"

The phrase "knock on wood" is considered a superstition. People use this phrase and the action it describes to prevent bad luck. For instance, you may be discussing a particular event experienced by someone else and you may say, "It's never happened to me, knock on wood." You would then look around for a wooden surface to rap your knuckles on. You may also use the phrase if you are wishful that something would happen. For instance, you may be making plans for a trip this weekend, while telling someone your plans you may end the phrase with "knock on wood" to ward off any bad luck that might prevent your trip.

The exact origin of the phrase "knock on wood" is unknown, however many speculate that is could have come from rituals in early times where trees were considered sacred spirits. Others believe the phrase originated in Ireland. To knock on wood was to alert leprechauns that you were thanking them for giving you good luck. Another popular belief is that by knocking on wood you prevent the devil from hearing what you have just said, which in turn prevents the action from occurring. It is possible that the origination of the phrase "knock on wood" is derived from Christianity and the wood is a reference to the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The earliest reference of the phrase "knock on wood" was recorded in the early 1900's. There are some references to a similar phrase, "touch wood," that were recorded in the late 1800's. "Touch wood" means essentially the same as "knock on wood." Today we more commonly use "knock on wood" rather that "touch wood".

1 comment:

  1. Yes I should have knocked on wood before I foolishly announced I was feeling better this morning. Five minutes later I wasn't.