If I got good grades with little study and preparation and no innately superior intellect, I would want to say that "I lucked through my exams".

However luck is not a verb. What can I say instead?


This post has surprisingly spawned an interesting discussion about whether 'luck' is a verb or not? If it's not strictly a verb - but the context in which it is being passed off as a verb is clear and flows harmoniously with the rest of the sentence - whether that legitimised its use? Does anyone have any resources for this kind of topic?

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    Actually, you commonly hear Americans say "I lucked out" when something unexpectedly works in their favor, maybe it can be a verb in certain cases? You can also say "I got lucky".
    – mjjf
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 3:17
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    "I lucked through my exams" would be a perfectly normal thing to hear from an American student and nobody would misunderstand it IMO (US South here). It's non-standard usage, yes, but verbing nouns is a normal part of modern English and there's no reason to avoid it in everyday language.
    – trent
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 15:59
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    In addition to being a noun, "luck" is a verb, found in most any dictionary as such. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 17:10
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    do phrasal verbs satisfy the "single-word-request" tag? (Is that a meta question?)
    – Ben Bolker
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 20:26
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    In contrast to @trentcl, Upper Midwest US here and I don't think I've ever heard anyone say “lucked through.” It's immediately understandable, but definitely sounds weird. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 20:54

5 Answers 5


I fluked my exams.**

fluke VERB [WITH OBJECT] Achieve (something) by luck rather than skill.

‘I played very loose in contrast to the rest of the night's play and got ahead quite quickly thanks to fluking four of a kind early on.’ https://www.lexico.com/definition/fluke

** Not to be confused with "flunk"!

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    Better than my answer I think, though in the US I can’t recall ever having heard it used as a verb. Very interesting. Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 18:48
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    In the US many people would hear that as "flunked".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 19:31
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    I've only heard fluke as a noun. "How did you pass your exam?" "I don't know, I guess it was a fluke." Not saying it's wrong, but you might get some weird looks.
    – mjjf
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 3:09
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    Fascinating. I had never encountered this word as a verb until today. I see from the lexico site, however, that this is a UK definition. If you switch to "US Dictionary" the verb form disappears. This seems to be one of those things you would say differently depending on your audience.
    – David K
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 7:26
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    @TKoL I'm not entirely sure they would. At least in the U.S., a "fluke" isn't generally understood to be good luck. At the very least, I suspect it would take a few moments extra to parse.
    – David K
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 13:17

Maybe you could use "lucked out" meaning

to be very lucky

[Cambridge English Dictionary]

It's considered a "phrasal verb with luck verb".

Might work for you.

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    This is what I would use. A variation is "luck up," which parallels "f*** up" and refers to getting lucky in spite of a blunder.
    – Robusto
    Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 18:14
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    In American English, the standard phrasal verb is luck out, which is intransitive. Typical usage: I lucked out and got an A- on that paper. Commented Dec 20, 2020 at 21:58
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    @OwenReynolds Just because getting lucky means getting sex doesn't mean lucky means sex.
    – philipxy
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 3:51
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    @MarkMorganLloyd Cambridge English Dictionary has been published by Cambridge University Press, based in the UK, since 1995. However, the online version does have both UK and US versions. William has posted a link to a definition on the US version. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 12:07
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    @GeoffAtkins This always reminds me of one of Arthur C. Clarke's little jokes, about universities in Cambridge (England), Cambridge (Mass.) and Cambridge (Mars). Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 15:30

Actually, "I lucked through my exams" is exactly how you would say it, at least according to The Free Dictionary, Vocabulary.com and my own personal experience.

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    @No-Name I'd be interested in where, geographically, "luck through" is common.
    – Buck Field
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 13:52
  • I've also heard "lucked out" used the same way.
    – aslum
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 16:19
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    Can you show evidence that 'luck through' is used transitively? 'Luck out' isn't. Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 16:56
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    Quite right. There is nothing strange about using "luck" as a verb, and it does not need a following prepositional helper. Here's another reference: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/luck
    – Wastrel
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 18:37
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    "I lucked my way through" might be more natural.
    – J. Mini
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 23:40

I got lucky with my exams (I see this was also noted by @mjf in comments above). (From Merriam-Webster, "to have good luck : to succeed because of good luck" (note the close association with sex, as noted in previous comments: "get lucky" also means "to succeed in finding or getting someone to agree to have sex with one" — although I don't think there's any danger of confusion/misinterpretation in this context).

(As a phrasal verb, this answer arguably this does not satisfy the [single-word-request] tag, but the original example, "lucked through", is also a phrasal verb ... as are many of the other answers here ... "lucked up", "lucked out", not to mention "won the lottery". Of the current answers, only "fluked" [which is not common in my experience in AmE!] is a single word ...)


"I really won the lottery when I got through those exams." [1]

[1] Note: in this case, "really" is just used for emphasis, and not actually meaning that a person really did win a lottery.

"I pulled off a miracle when I got through those exams."

"I was fortunate through those exams."

If you were just a lucky guesser, "I guessed my way through those exams."

There is also the concept of verbing a noun. (Interestingly, the word "verb" refers to a type of word, which is a noun, so the word "verb" is a noun, so the phrase "verbing a noun" is an example of verbing a noun.) If you can think of any familiar examples, whether historical and global or even recent and local, of a lucky person or event, you could use a word that refers to a lucky person or event. For example, "I Stevened my way through those exams last week" might not be readily understood in general, but if the conversation was just discussing how Steven spectacularly pulled off a streak of luck in four different ways over the past few days, then associating Steven's name with the word "luck" could be understood to anyone familiar with the context.

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    Note that only the 'single word request' tag has been chosen. And verbing nouns is not totally productive; excessive use should be wastebasketed. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 14:55

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