First of all, is "good fortune" a proper phrase in English?

And, do British/American people wish others a long life / "good fortune"/ peacefulness? I did some google search, and it seems that Anglo-Jewish people would with someone a long life, but not for others (most just wish others healthy). But I can't be really sure.


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    This is beyond the scope of what you're asking, but it might be interesting to someone and I can't resist throwing it out there... I'm not aware that wishing someone a long life is idiomatic in any current form of English, but it is a saying in the TV series Star Trek. "Peace and long life" is part of a greeting used in the show. Sometimes people say it in that context. (My nerdy insides are showing!) Interestingly enough, Wikipedia tells me that this was actually based on a Jewish greeting, so you might be on the right track. – WendiKidd Apr 24 '14 at 18:05

"Good fortune" is an idiomatic expression in English, but not on its own. So, for example, you might say:

 He had the good fortune to be born into a wealthy family.

But you would not say to someone,

*You're going to the casino now? Good fortune!

The much more common expression--and one that can be used on its own--is good luck.

You're going to bet on that horse? Good luck!

Likewise, it would seem oddly formal to wish someone "long life" in those words. But in some dialects of English (especially British dialects) you can wish someone, on a birthday or anniversary:

Many happy returns!

This is short for many happy returns of the day, meaning you hope that their birthday will return many times in the future--or, in other words, that they will live long enough to have many more birthdays.

Also, wishing someone "good health" is unusual in most English dialects except in the context of "toasting" someone while drinking alcohol. In much the way a Chinese speaker might say "健康" an English speaker might say your health or to your health, expressing a wish that the person have good health. Even this is a little formal in many dialects. You would never toast "发财," to get rich--this would be considered impolite in most English-speaking cultures.

In general, English language toasting is much less formal; you are more likely to hear Cheers, which in modern usage has no real meaning beyond "I am toasting you now," or, in a large group, To Alex!, meaning that everyone should toast in honor of Alex. The specifics of your good wishes will probably be left unexpressed.

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