When you wish someone to succeed, the standard phrase seems to be "Good luck!" For instance, here is a definition borrowed from Merriam-Webster:

good luck [idiom]:

  1. —used to say that one hopes someone will succeed. • We're sorry that you're leaving. Good luck in your new job.

What I don't like about this phrase is that it implies that the wished-for success is a matter of luck as opposed to all the other factors, such as the effort put in by everyone involved. In fact, if one was to interpret "good luck" literally in the example above, it is pretty offensive: you're basically saying that whether or not the person you're speaking to succeeds in their new job is a matter of luck rather than their hard work, skill, wise choice of the new employer, and so on. Of course, I'm not assuming anyone would interpret it like this unless they're just learning the language or are trying to be picky (the image of Gandalf musing on the meaning of "Good morning!" comes to mind).

In my native language (Polish) the usual phrase used in place of "Good luck!" is "Powodzenia!" which translates roughly to "I wish you success!". I like this frame of mind much more - you're expressing the hope for success and not making any judgements about how the success is achieved. Unfortunately, "I wish you success!" doesn't quite roll off the tongue, and I feel like it would be awkward to use in a conversation.

Is there another well-established phrase that can be used in place of "Good luck!" which does not imply that luck is actually relevant to the situation?

  • 2
    I think this is a cultural / translational issue. Native Anglophones don't normally suppose that wishing someone good luck in some new venture implies they need luck to be successful because the well-wisher thinks they couldn't succeed on merit, effort, or whatever. Except in the context of sarcastic usages such as You say you're expecting to be a millionaire before you're 30? Good luck with that! Jul 11, 2018 at 13:01
  • Yeah these are two separate usages. Merriam-Webster lists that under 2. One does not necessarily imply the other, and as FumbleFingers says they have very different intonations. Just like in Polish. Powodzenia can mean "I wish you success", but it can also mean "yeah you will never succeed, loser, and I don't wish that you do". It all depends on the delivery.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jul 11, 2018 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


A similar expression that doesn't involve luck is all the best.


used to wish someone happiness and success · We wish you all the best in your new job.

It can also be used on its own and understood in context.


Break a leg

used to wish good luck especially to a performer

[Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

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