How to wish good luck in Italian

Your friend is having a driving test today. Your sister is graduating tomorrow. Your dad’s having a job interview next week. You’re studying Italian and want to wish good luck in Italian to all of them. How do you do that? Find out in this lesson.


How do you wish good luck in Italian?

Buona fortuna

This is the most common – and boring – way of wishing good luck in Italian. It directly translates to good luck.

Buona fortuna
Good luck


Tante belle cose

Meaning, many nice things. This wish is not as common as buona fortuna, but it’s still a neutral way to wish good luck in Italian.

Tante belle cose
I wish you the very best
Literally: Many nice things

Tante belle cose
I wish you the very best

One colloquial way to wish good luck in Italian

In bocca al lupo

Hunters used to wish each other good luck by wishing to be in a negative situation. This is why one of the most common ways of saying good luck in Italian wishes for people to be in a wolf’s mouth. In bocca al lupo can be used to translate break a leg.

In bocca al lupo!
Break a leg!
Literally: In [the] mouth of the wolf!

how to wish good luck in italian - in bocca al lupo
In bocca al lupo!
Break a leg!

But getting eaten alive by a wolf is a tad more dangerous and painful than breaking a leg, so in order to fend off any bad luck you must reply back with:

Crepi il lupo!
Literally: May the wolf die!

It can also be shortened to just Crepi!.


One pious way to wish good luck in Italian

Che Dio ce la mandi buona

Italians – especially older generations – have always been very religious people. So it’s no wonder that there’s a particular kind of good luck wish featuring God.

Che Dio ce la mandi buona
May God be with us
Literally: May God send us a good one

This sentence also features the present subjunctive form of the verb mandare. If you love grammar drills and would like to test yourself on the present subjunctive tense and others, head to the free Italian verb trainer!


One profane way to wish good luck in Italian

In culo alla balena

The author of this article is a dirty mouth, so this is my favorite Italian good luck wish. I’ve used it quite often.

It literally translates to “in [the] ass of the whale“.

One way or another, it looks like Italians like to wish people to explore the insides of wild animals, be it through an oral exam or a… well, you can guess! ๐Ÿ˜

In culo alla balena!
Break a leg!
Literally: In [the] ass of the whale!

how to wish good luck in italian - in culo alla balena
In culo alla balena!
Break a leg!

As for in bocca al lupo, there’s a specific sentence you reply back with, and that is:

Speriamo che non caghi!
Literally: Let’s hope it doesn’t take a shit!

A word to the wise!
Culo is an Italian swear word, and cagare is no innocent word either. If you are between friends then by all means feel free to throw some whale asses around ๐Ÿ˜, but in an unfamiliar setting or when taking an Italian language exam I advise you NOT to use this wish!


Wishing good luck in Italian to newly-weds

Auguri e figli maschi

Historically, Italian women took care of the household while men went working outside. It was the man’s job to bring back the money and sustain the family. This is where auguri and figli maschi originated from. After a wedding, wishing the newly-weds to have male sons was just the same as wishing them money and wellness.

It’s still traditionally used to this day.

Auguri e figli maschi!
Literally: Wishes and male sons!


What next?

You can do the good luck in Italian interactive exercises!

Now that you’ve seen how to wish good luck in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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