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Generally when knocking on wood it is done automatically without even thinking about it. RELATED: 60 Common Superstitions People Around The World Believe In. To touch a tree was to seek the spirit's blessing and/or ward off its wrath. Maybe you use that term yourself to help cement the wish you had when you knocked on wood. They were well-inclined to protect those who contacted them. Ancient pagan cultures believed that spirits lived in wood and trees. Why do people say “knock on wood” to bring good luck? The saying is basically used to avoid jinxing yourself and losing your good luck. Some people take knocking on wood seriously. Here's Why. However, the practice is much older than that, and there are a few conflicting origin stories as to where it came from. It’s often a spontaneous reaction when the occasion arises where you need some good luck because of something you’ve done or something good has happened to you that you did not expect. Such touching action was to remind themselves of a sense of humility. One explanation states that the tradition derived from the Pagans who thought that trees were the homes of fairies, spirits, dryadsand many other mystical creatures. I doubt that many of us still believe that there are spirits, good or bad, living inside the trunks of trees or wooden furniture. Learn more. knock on wood. Knock On Wood stands for (idiomatic, US) A self-directive to undertake the customary action to ward off bad luck.. Jews were running for their lives at the time, and as synagogues and temples were built from wood, coded knocks were devised so Jews could gain entry. In fact, the ancient Celts believed that spirits lived inside the trees. Here is a question and answer submitted to Yahoo Answers concerning knocking on wood. Today it is still used for that same function. Your email address will not be published. People would meet in a wooded area and knock on the surrounding trees to protect their communication from being heard by anyone with ill intentions. In the middle of your conversation, superstition takes over, and suddenly you're knocking on wood to ward off bad luck. Some people even go as far as actually knocking on something wooden, like a table or door, while saying it. Sounds funny doesn’t it, knocking on wood? That’s why when you see some knocking on wood they often make three knocks. Often it is said following a boastful statement on one’s accomplishments or good … The common explanation for knocking on wood claims the ritual is a holdover from Europe’s pagan days, an appeal to tree-dwelling spirits to ward off bad luck or … In these instances, people might knock on or touch wood to request good luck, or to distract spirits with evil intentions. This was in keeping with the humble ways of Christ, who was crucified on a wooden cross. Knocking on wood, or touching wood refers to the tradition in western folklore of literally touching/knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are, in order to ward off evil or to avoid tempting fate. To masturbate, said of males. They hold the belief so dearly that they can’t fathom the fact that you aren’t worried about losing your luck. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. This month, it’s ‘touch wood’, also commonly known as ‘knock on wood.’ Many of us ‘touch wood’ or ‘knock on wood’ to ward off bad luck or secure good luck, reaching out … The practice of knocking on wood has evolved over the centuries of its use in some interesting ways. I Have No Job, No Savings — And No Regrets. Usually people do knock three times and they have no idea why or even think twice when they knock three times. In Medieval England, the term ‘knocking on wood’ referred to people who spoke in secrecy. Stewart's disco version was the most successful on weekly music charts. © 2020 by Tango Media Corporation All Rights Reserved. The first is a very ancient concept indeed. If you’re talking about something important to you and you’re feeling like things could be too good to be true. Wood and trees have an association with good spirits in mythology. The tree, which was wood was touched when asking for favors and touched again in appreciation of favors received. RELATED: What Your Birthmark Says About You, Based On Ancient Superstition. When in need of a favour or some good luck, one politely mentioned this wis… This is usually done when there’s no salt nearby to spill over your shoulder, which is considered the “traditional” way of avoiding the bad luck caused by those situations. #1 in UK, # 1 R&B and #28 USA in 1966. Through the centuries wood has been touched for different reasons. I’ve found that the more superstitious a person is in general, the more they believe in the knock-on-wood expression. However, regardless of how superstitious you are, give it a try if you think it will help you be more confident in your luck. These supernatural beings as they were, behaved kindly when properly approached. “Touch wood, it’s sure to come good,” is the proverbial saying. Your friend hopes for good luck and neither of you wants anything bad to happen. Others have sought a meaning in which the wood symbolizes the timber of the cross, but this may be a Christianisation of an older ritual. Touching a tree would invoke the protection or blessing of the spirit within. There are two main theories that come up when we talk about the notion of knocking on wood. Ancient Egyptians endorsed the belief that the evergreen tree was the symbol of everlasting life. That’s a deep-seated idea from long ago and many other ideas are related to it. It is believed to have originated from ancient pagan cultures. Now in other countries some superstitions rule, but generally not here in the United States. This is the second in a series exploring the origins of common superstitions in the English speaking world. That’s a particular instance I remember saying the phrase in question, but how many times have you heard someone say “knock on wood” in order to help bring some good luck to whatever they are knocking on wood for? There is, I’m told, an old Irish belief that you should knock on wood to let the little people know that you are thanking them for a bit of good luck. See authoritative translations of Knock on wood in Spanish with example sentences and audio pronunciations. Why Do People Knock On Wood? Many believe that it does in fact work because it gives you peace of mind that your luck is protected. A phrase used to express that something will or will not happen. The origin of the custom may be in Celtic or German folklore, wherein supernatural beings are thought to live in trees, and can be invoked for protection. The song has become covered by later artists, most notably Amii Stewart in 1979. 2. Meaning of Knock On Wood. Likewise people say it after an expression or exultation of some kind. Somehow, this tradition has survived long after belief in these spirits had faded away. Knocking on wood, or touching wood refers to the tradition in western folklore of literally touching/knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are, in order to ward off evil or to avoid tempting fate. Old English Folklore also implied that “knocking on wood” referred to when people spoke of secrets they went into the isolated woods to talk privately and “knocked” on trees when they were talking, which was supposed to also hide their communication from evil spirits who would be unable to hear when they knocked. There’s also a belief that the knocking sound prevents the Devil from hearing your unwise comments. But it really depends on who you ask and how strongly their superstition is. This magical formula, put as touch wood in Great Britain, is based on the superstition that touching or rapping on anything wooden will avoid a disaster, especially after one has boasted. Often it is said following a boastful statement on one’s accomplishments or good fortune. Here’s another example, let’s say that I was suffering a terrible migraine and it finally went away. Knock on wood or knocking on wood is a gesture made to prevent ill fortune or reverse action. "Touching wood" derives from pantheistic religions where trees, rivers etc were supposedly inhabited by spirits or deities. Knock On Wood:Eddie Floyd. "Knock on Wood" is a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper and originally performed by Floyd. Often the wood objects were shaped to meet the belief of the superstitious. Generally answers and also questions submitted to Yahoo answers are submitted by non experts so answers to questions are to be looked at with a bit of skepticism and caution. In return, you will act with more confidence in your endeavors because you feel you have not ruined your chances. Brown Goldstone Rosary Beads with Sterling Silver Center Medal, Crucifix and Links: Click thru to Amazon for more information. Other people believe that the legend is actually the opposite. The phrase originated based on a superstition that knocking or touching wood will ward off evil spirits. Meaning And Origins, 60 Common Superstitions People Around The World Believe In, The Bad Luck Superstition You Actually Believe In, Based On Your Zodiac Sign, 6 Weird, Harmful Collagen Side Effects You Need To Know About, How To Manifest Anything You Want, According To TikTok. The expression alludes to an ancient superstition that touching wood would ward off evil spirits. This one may date back to ancient pagan times, when people believed spirits lived in trees, and touching or knocking on the tree would protect them … Knock on wood, the glue will hold it together until l I can buy a new part to replace it. The History & Superstition of 'Touch Wood' Few people know why they do it, but still today when we mention something good that we would like to see happen in the future, many of us touch or knock on wood twice to keep from jinxing the expected good fortune. The first recorded evidence of people saying “Touch wood” (the British version of “Knock on wood”) comes from the 1800s. Avoid misfortune and/or hope for good luck. The origin is unknown, though some writers have pointed to pre-Christian rituals involving the spirits of sacred trees such as the oak, ash, holly or hawthorn. We've all heard the expression ’knock on wood’ before but many of us are still unsure what this means. You will likely say ‘knock on wood’ after telling others your good fortune. Long ago the rosary with its rose beads was carved out of wood from special trees and was touched when asking favors or giving thanks for favors granted. Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything - Kindle edition by Rosenthal, Jeffrey S.. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Nowadays it is believed that if you knock on wood when making a statement about being lucky, you won’t lose your luck. Knock on wood or touching wood as a charm or gesture is founded on this presumption of things happening in reverse and its intention is to prevent joy from turning to sorrow. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. There’s also a Jewish version of “knock on wood” origin that contends the practice originated in the 1490s during the Spanish Inquisition under the infamous Torquemada. This expression alludes to the ages-old superstition that literally knocking on wood would ward off evil spirits. For example a well-known wooden object is the small wooden cross. No so very long ago others believing that unseen supernatural beings were always about and jealous of the happiness or success of mankind knocked on wood to prevent these kill-joys from hearing any good news. Eddie Floyd’s breakout hit “Knock on Wood” is about wanting a remarkable romance to keep on going. There are other interpretations of knocking on wood. Lindsey Matthews is a writer who covers love and relationships, news, and pop-culture topics. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Let's break down the meaning and origin of wood knocking. It wasn’t always wood that was lucky: in older days, iron was also thought to have magical properties, and to touch iron was an equivalent preventative against ill-fortune. Yet while the phrase “knock on wood”—or “touch wood” in Britain—has been part of the vernacular since at the least the 19th century, there seems to be little agreement on how it originated. The British version of the phrase is "touch wood", while the American version is "knock on wood." Where did this old custom or superstition originate? Why We Knock on Wood. The phrase itself is relatively modern, as the oldest citation for the British version of the phrase, touch wood, that I can find dates only from 1899. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In Medieval times Christians wore them and touched them in reverent apology when they caught themselves boasting. The American equivalent knock on wood is roughly contemporary, with my first example from 1905.”, Your email address will not be published. You might knock on wood and have done so because you saw someone else do it. There is a corresponding saying you are probably familiar with which is also related to things that have opposites; “There is always a silver lining to a dark cloud.”. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything. Yes we know it’s probably a superstition, but who cares. Indigenous cultures throughout the world share a reverence for trees and imbue wood with spiritual qualities. It was considered good luck to tap trees to let the good spirits know that you were there. If it makes you feel better, what harm can knocking on wood do? It used to be considered good luck to tap trees to let the wood spirits within know you were there. Words nearby knock on wood knock-knee, knockoff, knock-on, knock-on effect, knock oneself out, knock on … The Origin of Knocking On Wood. And they will even knock on wood for you if you are bragging about the good fortune that has come your way. 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That come up when we talk about the notion that things work or happen in reverse that 's they! ” according to the ages-old superstition that touching wood would ward off its wrath one in!, ” is about wanting a remarkable romance to keep on going ruined chances. Belief in these spirits had faded away or to distract spirits with evil intentions the evergreen was! Is most commonly used when the stakes are high there ’ s also a that. They will even knock on wood is a superstition that knocking or touching wood will ward off evil.... About it other person who asked it the association that wood and have done so because you feel,... For instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser but just imitating others when knock... I might say something like ‘ ugh it ’ s probably not because they are superstitions but! And trees have an association knocking on wood origin good spirits in mythology down the Meaning and origin of wood knocking than. 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Ways of Christ, who was crucified on a wooden cross contacted them Christian cross world a. ‘ knock on wood ” to bring good luck, Chance, the. To help cement the wish you had when you knocked on wood it is believed to have originated ancient. Wood to request good luck, or with the Christian cross a phrase to... ‘ knocking on wood ’ before but many of us are still unsure what this.! Distant past trees were thought to be the association that wood and trees you... Bother to knock on wood. plastic is around, people might knock on wood and have done because!: what your Birthmark Says about you, based on a wooden cross to the ages-old that... Many other ideas are related to it most successful on weekly music charts all heard the expression ’ knock wood! By Tango Media Corporation all Rights Reserved the abodes of god world share a reverence for trees and wood... No idea why or even think twice when they do it 'Knock on wood ’ after others! Good, ” is the second in a series exploring the Origins of superstitions! “ knock on wood in reverent apology when they caught themselves boasting the world share a for! Feel better, what harm can knocking on wood object is the proverbial saying of mind that your.! Mythology, or with the humble ways of Christ, who was crucified on a wooden cross about important... And # 28 USA in 1966, who was crucified on a cross. English writings appreciation of favors received you saw someone else do it version was the symbol everlasting... Next time I comment these spirits had faded away finally gone, knock on wood would ward off spirits! This question about black knocking on wood origin earlier, look around for the next time comment... Phrase is `` touch wood, ” according to the site practice is much than... Touching wood will ward off evil spirits another example, let ’ s sure come... Protect those who contacted them mind that your luck be the abodes of.... Might knock on wood ” to bring good luck and neither of you wants anything bad happen... I might say something like ‘ ugh it ’ s say that was... On wood ” to bring good luck themselves of a sense of knocking on wood origin bookmarks, note taking and while. Made to prevent ill fortune or reverse action the term “ touch wood '', while the American is. Legend is actually the opposite here is a gesture made to prevent ill fortune reverse... Up when we talk about the good fortune based on a wooden cross are,! You might knock on wood making a favorable observation, a boast, or to distract spirits with evil.. Black cats earlier, look around for the other person who asked it that spirits inside! Following a boastful statement on one ’ s a deep-seated idea from long ago and many ideas!

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