Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This popular saying meaning:

When troubles come they come together, (especially if you are unfortunate).

has a clear negative connotation.

I am looking for a saying or expression that convey just the opposite idea, sort of " lucky things happen continually to lucky people".

share|improve this question
4  
Nice question. In Dutch (and I believe in German as well) there is the saying that the devil shits on the biggest pile. Notwithstanding the negative connotations of the devil, this saying actually is very positive, meaning that luck always favours those that are already lucky. (Used when a rich person wins the lottery, for instance.) –  oerkelens Apr 9 at 9:25
2  
I'm not sure but almost sure there's no one idiom that fits. –  Kris Apr 9 at 11:22
7  
It looks like I'm the odd one out, but I've used and heard "When it rains, it pours" for both positive and negative sitations. –  dj18 Apr 9 at 16:02
    
@dj18 yup, that's how I know it too, and for both positive and negative. –  Doktor J Apr 9 at 21:39
    
Just throwing my hat in the ring for the case of the term in the title being usable for both positive and negative - just today a relative used this exact expression in the context that when she finally got a job offer, she actually got 3 of them on the same day. –  Chris O'Kelly Apr 10 at 6:29
add comment

11 Answers 11

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Perhaps born under a lucky star

Very fortunate, as in Peter comes out ahead no matter what he tries; he was born under a lucky star.

share|improve this answer
add comment

King James Bible, Luke 19:26

For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

As is often the case with such observations, the reason for this depends on who you are...

Poor person: "You're so lucky! You've had everything handed to you on a silver plate."
Rich person: "Quit whining! I make my own luck."

The idea that "luck begets luck" (i.e. - people who have been lucky in the past are more likely to be lucky in the future) is encapsulated in various idiomatic expressions...

hit a lucky/winning streak
be on a roll
be "jammy" - BrE slang, often applied to an undeservedly "lucky" person.


EDIT: I can't resist sharing this one, which sits alongside my "rich man" above...

The Harder I Practice, the Luckier I Get

As explained in that link, the origins are murky. No-one really knows when or how it started.

share|improve this answer
    
Of course we know that being lucky in the past has no effect on how lucky you are in the future. (Aside from any potential behavioural changes(or monetary as money makes money with less risk) arising from your luck influencing poor/good decision) :). This of course doesn't invalidate this answer by any means –  Cruncher Apr 9 at 15:01
    
@Cruncher: As it happens, I was just reading Dawkins' The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True last night, where he says something like "If a tossed coin has just turned up heads 999 times in a row, how likely is it to be heads on the next toss?" And as he sensibly points out, only a dumb-ass would say it's 50-50 (it's far more likely to be heads again, since the most likely reason for the previous run is that the coin has been somehow "doctored"). –  FumbleFingers Apr 9 at 15:11
    
1  
FumbleFingers: I read that as "If a fair coin is tossed..." instinctively because that's how many stats problems start :). And of course this an example of reason, not luck. @kotekzot Frankly, I have no respect for people that gamble at below 50% expected value. –  Cruncher Apr 9 at 15:54
    
@kotekzot: People in general (and most gamblers in particular) are usually hopeless at understanding how "chance" works. As I understand it, every week 10-20 thousand half-wits bet on 123456 in the UK National Lottery. Presumably each one of them thinking "I'm so smart! Since I know that all permutations are equally likely, I'll bet on 123456 (because all the stupid people will avoid it, so if it does come up I won't have to share the winnings)." Never underestimate the power of human stupidity (especially the kind of stupidity that thinks it's smart). –  FumbleFingers Apr 9 at 15:55
show 2 more comments

"lucky things happen continually to lucky people".

neutral ones would be

you reap what you sow

you get out what you put in

Good things come to those who wait.

unrelated

Good things come in small packages

Best match

Good things come in threes.

The last one is probably the closest one I can come up with.

I.e. once lucky twice more lucky. And if you were lucky the last third time, what is preventing you from being lucky a 4th 5th and nth time?

share|improve this answer
2  
+1 for "Good things come in threes" –  AShelly Apr 9 at 16:33
1  
Bad things also come in threes. On the other hand, the third time is the charm. –  Senex Apr 9 at 22:38
add comment

There are probably a few such phrases, but far fewer than those that comment on or predict misfortune.

Good things come to those who wait is one.
All things are possible to those who work is another.
Born with a silver spoon in your mouth (to have opportunities that you did not earn but that you have from the influence of your family) does denote good things, but not earned, and therefore not looked upon kindly by the less privileged.

I hope others can think of some. It's an interesting question.

share|improve this answer
    
The third one gets closer to the point. –  Josh61 Apr 9 at 9:57
add comment

The adjective "happy-go-lucky" has a meaning which approaches the opposite of "It never rains but it pours." The less you worry, the luckier you are likely to get.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Would “the rich get richer” capture part of what you intend? There is a Wikipedia article about this phrase, complete of the “and the poor get poorer” part, which is a kind of corollary.

share|improve this answer
    
Rich get richer and poor get poorer refer more to a condition or ability in my opinion. In this case it is more a question of luck or good fortune, that tend to happen to those who already are rich and/or fortunate. –  Josh61 Apr 9 at 10:18
1  
Perhaps the meaning that is nearer to the one you describe, and that I meant is the one Wikipedia attributes to the use in statistics: «In statistics, the phrase "the rich get richer" is often used as an informal description of the behavior of Chinese restaurant processes and other preferential attachment processes, where the probability of the next outcome in a series taking on a particular value is proportional to the number of outcomes already having that particular value.» –  DaG Apr 9 at 10:25
add comment

This popular saying... has a clear negative connotation

Well actually, the saying: When it rains it pours can be used in both positive and negative situations:

From dictionary.com:

When something good or bad occurs, it usually occurs more than once and often within a short period of time:

So using this saying in a positive way is fine.

Edit: I just noticed that this point was also mentioned in the comments to the question

share|improve this answer
add comment

I think the expression "Living a charmed life" could come into play here.

share|improve this answer
add comment

"Chance is a lady who smiles only upon those few who know how to make her smile."

"Luck is the idol of the idle."

share|improve this answer
add comment

I think 'having a streak of good luck' comes close...

From http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/streak

  • streak of good luck and string of good luck: a series of fortunate events
  • lucky streak and *streak of luck: fig. a series of lucky wins in gambling or games.
share|improve this answer
1  
Welcome to ELU. You should consider explaining your choice more. I agree, but we typically try to make our answers more robust than that. –  David M Apr 9 at 16:45
    
Thanks David.... I am new... Edited. –  Keni Apr 9 at 17:17
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.