British folklorist Steve Roud wrote that the origin of the expression knock on wood is a Victorian children’s game called “Tiggy Touchwood,” a type of tag where kids are only safe when they were touching wood… Knock on Wood Lyrics: I don't want to lose this good thing / That I've got, 'cause if I do / I would surely, surely lose a lot / 'Cause your love is better than any love I know / It's like thunder The British version of the phrase is "touch wood", while the American version is "knock on wood." Meaning: Knocking on wood (or touching wood, in Britain) is a superstition where people knock on a piece of wood to ward off bad luck or to hopefully gain good fortune. 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. Why We Knock on Wood. 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 phrase 'knock on wood' is believed to be Germanic in origin. Somehow, this tradition has survived long after belief in these spirits had faded away. Meaning and Origins. (in TED-Ed GIFs), 8 things TED learned from our high school interns. A superstitious phrase said after mentioning good fortune in order to prevent bad luck from occurring, often said in lieu of or while simultaneously actually touching a wooden surface. Why do people knock on wood? The general custom though is to knock on wood, not just touch it. 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 … knock on wood US informal (UK touch wood) said in order to avoid bad luck, either when you mention good luck that you have had in the past or when you mention hopes you have for the future: The deal will be agreed on Wednesday, knock on wood. Here's how you say it. Touch wood itself can be traced back to the druids and their Groves wherein they would touch the wood of the trees during rituals and prayer. What's the origin of the phrase 'Knock on wood'? It seems to trace back to the European idea of touching wood to ward off bad luck, or acknowledge good luck. knock on wood (third-person singular simple present knocks on wood, present participle knocking on wood, simple past and past participle knocked on wood) ( idiomatic , US ) To take a customary action to ward off some misfortune that is believed to … Knocking on wood may seem trivial, but it is one small way people quell their fears in a life full of anxieties. Often it is said following a boastful statement on one’s accomplishments or … Rosemary V. Hathaway does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. The anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski has a theory about such actions, called the “anxiety-ritual theory.” It states that the anxiety created by uncertainty leads people to turn to magic and ritual to gain a sense of control. Meaning The phrase voiced by people who rap their knuckles on a piece of wood hoping for good luck. #1 in UK, # 1 R&B and #28 USA in 1966. While that title track to Eddie's 1967 debut album is the most famous song on the collection, it's far from the only highlight. 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. The phrase originated based on a superstition that knocking or touching wood will ward off evil spirits. It was said to originate from early settlers when they would stomp the floor in their log cabins to avoid bad luck. Ever said something like, “I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket” – and then quickly, for luck, rapped your knuckles on a wooden table or doorframe? You might knock on wood and have done so because … The phrase ‘Knock on Wood’ is used when you are claiming that you’ve avoided misfortune and you want your lucky streak to continue. Take this brief passage on superstition from Keith Thomas in his Decline (747-748): The virtue attributed to […] Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 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. In the UK the phrase touch wood is used. The origin of knock on wood is debated but its widespread use suggests a powerful underlying belief system that crosses borders and cultures. Americans accompany this action by saying, “Knock on wood.” In Great Britain, it’s “Touch wood.” They knock on wood in Turkey, too. Of course, much folklore is learned informally, by word of mouth or customary behavior. I’d wager few, if any, people today think – after saying something that might bring bad luck – “I’d better ask the tree spirits for help!”. In history it was believed that tiny but lucky creatures lived in the wood. In many cultures, it’s a common superstition for people to knock their knuckles on a piece of wood to bring themselves good fortune or ward off bad luck. 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 an expression of gratitude for good fortune. Knocking on wood is a superstition that started way back in the 19th century. KNOCK ON WOOD LIMITED - Free company information from Companies House including registered office address, filing history, accounts, annual return, officers, charges, business activity INTRO: E G A B7 D B7 #1.B7 A I don't want to lose, this good thing, that I got.E Sure, if I do, I will surely, surely lose a lot.A Cause your love is better, than any love I know. knock on wood (third-person singular simple present knocks on wood, present participle knocking on wood, simple past and past participle knocked on wood) ( idiomatic , US ) To take a customary action to ward off some misfortune that is believed to … Very interesting how it seems like everyone has a superstition in their life. In this theory, the wood in question is the cross that Christ was crucified on. Meaning The phrase voiced by people who rap their knuckles on a piece of wood hoping for good luck. Origin Theories. Knock on Wood may refer to: . Avoid misfortune and/or hope for good luck. This goes back to the 3 digit years C.E. As a teacher of folklore – the study of “the expressive culture of everyday life,” as my favorite short definition puts it – I’m often asked why people knock on wood. Browse our 7 arrangements of "Knock on Wood." When in need of a favour or some good luck, one politely mentioned this wis… In Reply to: Wood posted by jessica kite on May 25, 2000 ... Others hold that this game and 'knocking on wood' had a common origin in primitive tree worship, when trees were believed to harbor protective spirits. 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. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]. Words nearby knock on wood knock-knee, knockoff, knock-on, knock-on effect, knock oneself out, knock on … In United States, the term "knock on wood" is best known. It used to be considered good luck to tap trees to let the wood spirits within know you were there. Write an article and join a growing community of more than 117,900 academics and researchers from 3,797 institutions. knock wood Hopefully this will be or continue to be the case; hopefully good luck will prevail. The saying "knocking on wood" was recorded only after the early 1900s. Here’s one origin story: Knocking on wood is thought to come from the folklore of the ancient Indo-Europeans, or possibly people who predated them, who believed that trees were home to various spirits. To learn more about superstitions, watch this TED-Ed Lesson: Where do superstitions come from? If one wishes to... See full answer below. Knock On Wood:Eddie Floyd. 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