Podcast: Keep your fingers crossed

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

May 20

How’s it going? No episódio de hoje eu falo sobre o idiom keep your fingers crossed.


Hi. How are you? This is Ana, back with a new episode of the Inglês Online podcast. Hope all is well. What’s the weather like in Brazil? I think it’s getting cold in Brazil, isn’t it?

Today I came across this really, really cool idiom, which is keep your fingers crossed. Keep your fingers crossed. Open your hand and look at your fingers: you have your thumb… Let’s say your thumb is the first finger to the left, and then the next two fingers, if you sort of intertwined them… That’s your fingers crossed. Cross your fingers and keep your fingers crossed, because… Let’s say, tomorrow I have my English exam and I’ve studied so hard, and I’m hoping (that) I’m going to do really well. Please keep your fingers crossed. I have to get a good grade on my English exam.

That’s basically what keep your fingers crossed means. It’s like a lucky… It’s as though if people keep their fingers crossed for you, that is somehow going to help you. I guess that’s a symbol of their good wishes or maybe good vibes, I don’t know… But people say to each other “I’m trying to do this thing tomorrow that I really want to be successful. Keep your fingers crossed”.

I did a search on the Inglês Online blog and then I found this old article that I wrote with two idioms. One is “high five” and the other one is “keep your fingers crossed”. Actually I had already written about it!… but it doesn’t have any audio.

Here are some of the examples I included in this article (and you’re going to find the link at the bottom of the podcast episode page). One example was Jane said “I have a job interview tomorrow finally”. And then her friend Tom says That’s awesome. Do you feel ready? And she says I’ve been practicing my interview skills or questions. And Tom says Great, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Another example that I used in the article was about Mary saying that her driving test is tomorrow and then she says Fingers crossed! After all, she has failed the exam three times already. Hey third time’s a charm! Fingers crossed. “Please root for me”… Which is a bit funny – it is a funny thing to say, because I don’t know what crossing your fingers will do for the outcome of the situation that you’re going to go through.

I haven’t really looked into the origin of this idiom, but I bet it’s pretty interesting. If you know what the origin of this is… If you know why people say “fingers crossed”, “Please keep your fingers crossed for me”… If you know why they say that and why it means that maybe there’s a bigger chance of what you’re going to do being successful, let me know.

Tell me: What is the last time that you asked someone to keep their fingers crossed, maybe in Brazil… Using, obviously, a Brazilian expression? Can you let me know? Can you give me an example?

Let me know and talk to you next time.

Article: Keep your fingers crossed

Key expressions

  • Keep your fingers crossed


intertwined = entrelaçou

third time’s a charm = Agora vai, da terceira não passa

root for me = torça por mim

outcome of the situation = resultado/desfecho/consequência da situação

José Carlos 11/07/2021

Keep your fingers crossed, in Brazil mean, have a good luck

Eduardo 15/06/2021

Hi Ana. Your podcasts are amazing!! I discovered this site a short time ago and I’m enjoying it a lot. I indicated it for my colleagues. They are learning English as me. I hope you continue with this channel and coming soon I will subscribe it.

Fabio 25/09/2020

estou aprendendo muito com seus podcasts.. muito obrigado!

    Fabio 25/09/2020

    and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you continue publishing new podcasts :)

Weslley 19/09/2020

The last time that I kept my fingers crossed was when I was going to present a project, well it worked and I did it, i really liked this expression I’ve never heard about it before I loved it though. Ana thanks a lot for one more amazing podcast and you have a beautiful voice by the way, I hope you’re doing great and i’ll see you.

Mariana 25/06/2020

Thank you for your work here on the page with the podcast.
The speed and clarity of words, help us to hear and understand English better. Thanks!



Adams 23/05/2020

I’m crossing my fingers to learn English!
I belive that found the solution, You!


    Ana 23/05/2020

    Stick around and enjoy the site – thank you!

Franciele 23/05/2020

I really enjoy your work, your podcast help me to improve my listen and make me more comfortable with my English.

    Ana 23/05/2020

    It’s great to know that, Franciele. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you much success!

Cezar 22/05/2020

In the past, It was like a superstition. By Keeping your fingers crossed you would be preventing evil from escaping.

    Ana 23/05/2020

    Got it, Cezar.. Interesting to see how these things start.

Juliano Pacheco 22/05/2020

The last time I keep my fingers crossed was when I presented my graduation work, and it’s work =).

    Ana 23/05/2020

    Great example, Juliano. Thanks!

Edna Cristina 21/05/2020

Hi, Ana! Thanks for your podcasts! I love them!
Here in Brazil, we’re fighting a battle against the Covid 19! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

    Ana 23/05/2020

    Yes, fingers crossed for everyone!

julio 21/05/2020

Hi Ana, about this expression “the third time is a charm”. can be used numerical variations such as: the fourth time is a charm? fifth etc?

    Ana 21/05/2020

    Yes Julio, it can. It’s usually said in a humorous way… for example, when someone’s trying the same thing for the third time.

Fernando 21/05/2020

I discovered two theories: a) in the past, two people created a cross with their index finger to invoke good spirits. So, when a person was alone, the way was to make the signal crossing the index and the middle finger; b) when Christians were persecuted by the Romans, they crossed their fingers to discreetly identify themselves.

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