What is the meaning and origin of `touch wood’?

When after making a remark, you say `touch wood’, you are hoping that the good fortune that you have had so far continues. The expression has the same meaning as `knock on wood’.

*Our wicket keeper hasn’t dropped a single catch all summer. Touch wood. *The second hand scooter I bought recently hasn’t given me any trouble. Knock on wood.

There are several explanations as to the origin of this expression. According to some scholars, it comes from an old superstitious belief that knocking on a tree (wood) helped to drive away evil spirits. Another explanation is that `touch wood’ was the name of a tag game that children played. The aim of the game was to run after your opponents and catch them. But if an individual was touching a tree (wood), then he was safe; he couldn’t be `captured’.

Source: The Hindu ‘Know Your English’ Series, January 23, 2006


2 thoughts on “What is the meaning and origin of `touch wood’?

    • hello

      the posts in these blog are mere compilations from Know Your English Columns from The Hindu. If you want to receive the posts daily, please subscribe to this blog.

      On the home page, right hand side there is an option to subscribe under ‘Email Subscription’ . Click on the ‘sign me up’ button.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s