Luck out

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11 comments on this post.
  1. Bruce Cunningham:

    Thank you for your wonderful articles.

    RE: lucked out

    I believe ‘lucked out’ to be, almost certainly, a shorten form of, ‘that was a lucky outcome’. Whattayathink?

    A devoted follower, Bruce

  2. Bob Duell:

    So one can both “luck into” something and “luck out” at the same time? How odd!

    My thanks as well for the site, Bob

  3. Topi:

    How about the WWII connection with people out of luck, but not so much as to buy a farm. They usually lucked to get a ticket home.

  4. Hal F.:

    I think the addition of out is a formation intended to communicate a sense of finality to a particular situation. One may luck out on one exam but not necessarily on the next one. There’s a phrase I hear more and more often in the sports world these days, and it’s “win out.” It is generally used to refer to teams finishing the rest of their schedule of games with victories. For example, “If the Giants win out, they will finish in first place.” Come to think of it, probably the best example, and maybe the source of the entire construction, is “to run out.”

  5. Keith Jessop:

    Mate,confusion reigns,my wife and i had a bet on the meaning of lucked out.She,a big reader of american authors,insisted it meant good luck.On the other hand i insisted it meant bad luck because i grew up in the aussie bush and that has always been it’s purpose,to politely say,shit outta luck.Guess we’ll have to go halves on the restaurant bill.Thanks guys,i thought i was on a winner there but i guess i LUCKED OUT.

  6. Anne:

    Anyone notice how strange ‘luck’ sounds when you say, or read, it over and over?

  7. Will:

    I think it is different to outta luck (out of luck): ‘he went for the catch, but he was outta luck [and dropped the ball].’

    The Macquarie Dictionary gives the following definitions of ‘out':

    4. to exhaustion, extinction, or conclusion; to the end; so as to finish or exhaust or be exhausted; so as to bring to naught or render useless: to pump out a well.
    5. to or at an end or conclusion: to fight it out.

    Would one of these explain the positive aspect of ‘lucking out’?

  8. Mick:

    I always think “to luck out” as being fortunate- in that you have used all of your luck in that one instance hence you are how “out” of luck.

  9. Kristal:

    Hey Keith – I’m an Aussie from the bush too and to ‘luck out’ for me (and everyone I know) means to have no luck. I was surprised the other day to come across it in an American book, and then hear it again on an American TV show, where it meant ‘to get lucky’. I was scratching my head I can tell you!

  10. Michael Caramanis:

    The last explanation given in the commentary seems very convincing to me. When there is a set of people who are in the majority of those who suffer the common consequences of a difficult/perilous situation, you are lucky if you happen to be so lucky as to be “out” of that set, and hence “luck out” of the set of unfortunate people. The operative concept here is that “chances are to be unlucky and suffer”, so for example when more than a million households in New Jersey went with out power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, those who did not lose power “lucked out” of the almost normal situation — normal in the sence of most likely or frequent — of losing power.

  11. John Mathers:

    Since “lucked out” is ambiguous, why use it? You can argue its mean equally in both directions, and it isn’t universally understood. The terms “out of luck” or “in luck”, however, do seem universally understood, so they would appear to be more satisfactory.

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