"Touching wood" derives from pantheistic religions where trees, rivers etc were supposedly inhabited by spirits or deities. Meaning and Origins. Knock-on definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. 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. Q From Mike Gast: What is the origin and true meaning of knock on wood or touch wood?. To touch a tree was to seek the spirit's blessing and/or ward off its wrath. Others believe the phrase originated in Ireland. In Reply to: Knock on wood posted by ESC on August 02, 2000: : I am most anxious to determine the basis and meaning of the expression: knock on wood and why we actually do it on expecting good luck. In the USA the expression used is knock on wood. To knock on wood was to alert leprechauns that you were thanking them for giving you good luck. Knocking on wood is a superstition that started way back in the 19th century. Origin May be the association that wood and trees have with good spirits in mythology, or with the Christian cross. Look it up now! It's often shortened to just saying "peppar peppar" while knocking on wood. Do you knock on wood or avoid stepping on cracks to prevent something bad from happening? Often it is said following a boastful statement on one’s accomplishments or good fortune. The superstition is an old one and has many possible explanations, none sure. While the origins of some of these popular superstitions seem pretty silly, many people still do them today. 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. In this theory, the wood in question is the cross that Christ was crucified on. Chances are you’ve knocked on wood in the past month. In the UK the phrase 'touch wood' is used. Knocking on the wood, more or less then invokes Christ’s protection. Example: I am sure that your tax returns will not be audited, knock on wood. In Sweden, the phrase "ta i trä" (touch wood) is commonly used as a part of the phrase "peppar peppar, ta i trä" (pepper pepper, touch wood), the double "pepper" also being used to ward off a temptation of fate. Origin : This phrase has been around since the 19 th century, yet no one can decide on an exact origin. However, the practice is much older than that, and there are a few conflicting origin stories as to where it came from. To knock on wood was to alert leprechauns that you were thanking them for giving you good luck. knock on wood meaning: 1. said in order to avoid bad luck, either when you mention good luck that you have had in the past…. Knock On Wood : Phrases Meaning: An expression said when knocking on wood in order to keep from having bad luck. 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. The meaning and origin of the expression: Knock on wood Touch wood/knock on wood Knocking on wood, also touch wood, is an apotropaic tradition of literally touching, tapping, The origin of the custom may be in German folklore, wherein supernatural In these instances, people might knock on or touch wood to request good . This dates from at least the early 17th century, when it is quoted by John Heywood in his collections of proverbs. A disco version by Amii Stewart was a #1 hit in 1979. Knock on wood definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. Why We Knock on Wood. Example of Use: “I barely avoided being involved in that 20 car pileup, knock on wood!” 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. It refers to the common superstitious belief, found in many cultures in the world, that you should touch wood or a tree to ward off bad luck. 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. It was the only hit for Stewart, who was also a dancer and actress - she starred in the Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar.The innovative arrangement of her version inspired Jay Graydon's production of The Manhattan Transfer's "The Boy From New York City. A To touch wood or knock on wood is a superstitious action to ward off any evil consequences or bad luck, perhaps because of some recent action you’ve taken or untimely boasting about your good fortune (“I’ve never been in danger of drowning, touch wood”); it can also be a charm to bring good luck. Origin. People would knock on wood to beseech friendly spirits for help or to thank them for their assistance. As with many superstitions, there is also a Christian explanation: that the wood represents the Cross, so when you touch or knock on wood, you are asking God to help your luck. But, really, why? The British version of the phrase - 'touch wood', predates the American 'knock on wood' and was itself preceded by a Latin version - 'absit omen', meaning 'far be that omen from us'. : On the other hand people still avoid walking under ladders and knock on wood and cross their fingers in order to guard there luck. 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