In Portuguese there is a way of saying "luck" or "good luck" by using the expression "good winds" (poetical and metaphorical). Now there is a context wherein I am supposed to say "good winds" meaning that something good indicate that another thing is going to happen. Would the metaphor be as effective as intended in this case?

Here is an example: "Good winds point to the best way to handle it."

  • We more often say "fair winds" than "good winds" although both are used. The opposite is usually "ill winds". (NGram link). – The Photon Oct 26 '18 at 21:56
  • So, do these winds bode good luck? Or do they indicate the direction one should take? Your example sentence and your description of the meaning don't quite jibe. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 26 '18 at 22:34

As with any language that has a maritime history, English has several dozen idioms that use "wind". One related idiom:

To know which way the wind blows/is blowing: To be able to anticipate how a certain course or situation is likely to develop. With regard to public opinion, these politicians know which way the wind blows, and you can bet they'll vote accordingly.

This is not quite the same thing as "good fortune", but it can imply you make good fortune by your skill at "reading the wind". Something closer might be:

To have the wind at one's back: A favorable position that encourages forward momentum (as with a ship that has the wind at its back). May you have the wind at your back as you head off on your travels!

It makes sense, but it's not entirely common. If you want to say "good luck" but are looking for a more colorful expression, try one of these:

May Fortune smile upon you!

Wishing you all the best!

Fingers crossed!

(With some endeavor that requires you impress someone) Knock 'em dead! or Blow them away!

(Before going on stage) Break a leg!

and this, which many might recognize from "The Hunger Games" movies/novels:

May the odds be ever in your favor!


In addition to the simple "I wish you good luck," and trying to match the metaphor of "good winds," you could say, "I wish you smooth sailing."


: easy progress without impediment or difficulty
// After the mix-up was rectified, it was smooth sailing again.
— Mike Brown

You could also say something like, "If we only have smooth sailing, things will turn out okay."

  • Thank you Jason. Smooth saling is an equivalent expression for "bons ventos" in many contexts. – user84219 Oct 26 '18 at 19:36
  • Indeed, Lambie. I will have to change the whole phrase for it to make sense in English. But then you, Jason and Andrew have given me some insight. – user84219 Oct 26 '18 at 19:41

Bons ventos [literally, good winds] might be expressed in English as: Good luck.

But I think the Portuguese is singular: bom vento. Just like in French: bon vent.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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