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Lucky come Meow

The English noun luck appears comparatively late, during the 1480s, as a loan from Low German (Dutch or Frisian) luk, a short form of gelucke (Middle High German gelücke). It likely entered English as a gambling term, and the context of gambling remains detectable in the word’s connotations; luck is a way of understanding a personal chance event. Luck has three aspects[7][8] which make it distinct from chance or probability.[9]

  • Luck is good or bad.[10]
  • Luck is by accident or chance.[11]
  • Luck applies to a person.

Some examples of luck:

  • You win repeatedly at gambling, against significant odds.
  • You correctly guess an answer in a quiz which you didn’t know.
  • Your car breaking down could be bad luck, if it was by chance and against the odds.

Before the adoption of luck at the end of the Middle Ages, Old English and Middle English expressed the notion of “good fortune” with the word speed (Middle English spede, Old English spēd); speed besides “good fortune” had the wider meaning of “prosperity, profit, abundance”; it is not associated with the notion of probability or chance but rather with that of fate or divine help; a bestower of success can also be called speed, as in “Christ be our speed” (William Robertson, Phraseologia generalis, 1693).

The notion of probability was expressed by the Latin loanword chance, adopted in Middle English from the late 13th century, literally describing an outcome as a “falling” (as it were of dice), via Old French cheance from Late Latin cadentia “falling”. Fortuna, the Roman goddess of fate or luck, was popular as an allegory in medieval times, and even though it was not strictly reconcilable with Christian theology, it became popular in learned circles of the High Middle Ages to portray her as a servant of God in distributing success or failure in a characteristically “fickle” or unpredictable way, thus introducing the notion of chance or randomness. Source

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