What is the fixed expression which can be said by an unlucky person to show their disappointment after a bad outcome / happening in English?

In Russian people have the slang: "ёлки-палки" which is a curse that is normally used when one wishes to express their vexation. I know there are dozens of ways to show you don't like something that is going on like: "Oh my god / gosh / goodness / lord" or simply in a ruder way: "damn", "shit" or "fuck"! But But I am looking for an informal, (not rude) expression which blames the bad luck of the person!

I found the expressions:

Some luck!
What luck!
Tough luck!
Bad luck!
Rotten luck!

in some translation pages, but either I cannot find a reliable source to make sure if they mean what I need or I don't find them similar to my needed expression.

Like Longman says:

Tough Luck (British English) -> used when you feel sympathy about something bad that has happened to someone:

  • You didn’t get the job? Oh, tough luck!

I am wondering whether there is an expression you could suggest?

  • 3
    Are you looking for something the unlucky person would say, or that would be said by another person to the unlucky person?
    – Muzer
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 11:02
  • 4
    Corrected British English: "You didn't get the job? Ah, bollocks mate, sorry." Commented May 14, 2020 at 12:27
  • If you have a few potential phrases that might mean something, you could use Google to narrow it down. You could search for each term (especially in quotes) to see what results you get and how many of them you get, although Some Luck is a novel, which may skew the results a bit. You could also add "definition" to the search to see whether there's a definition (and also how many results that returns). In this case I get nothing useful for "some luck" and "what luck", but for the others I get the same definition, which also tells me those terms are used interchangeably.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:04
  • 1
    @Muzer I am seeking an expression that the unlucky person utters to blame his/her bad luck.
    – A-friend
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:40
  • 1
    If you're really seeking something that might be said by an unlucky person then none of those examples would be appropriate… they would only ever be said by someone other than the unlucky one. The unlucky person might well say "Just my luck!" but none of the other phrases would be appropriate. Commented May 14, 2020 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


The person who didn't get the job might say:

That's just my luck.

An observer might say:

Sorry; that's so unlucky.

  • I know the expression "Just my luck" and that is a good one. But I need to find another expression which is said to show one's anger (not in a impolite way) and not directly blaming the "luck" itself. Exactly as the Russian term "ёлки-палки" does.
    – A-friend
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:48
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    @A-friend Though I'm unfamiliar with Russian, in my opinion that phrase is exactly what you want. It's usually stated kind of sarcastically, with a sense of frustrated defeat. Alternative: "Typical!" Note the emphasis. Commented May 14, 2020 at 15:00
  • @A-friend you will almost certainly never find an answer, the less so since sadly, you changed the criteria from blaming or being disappointed to expressing anger… Seriously, nothing on this page up to and including 00:07:00 200515 could near close to "Just my luck." That is the closest English phrases get to your specification and nothing else here has been worth thinking about. Do you want to drop the idea that the expression must come from the victim and allow an observer to say it? Commented May 14, 2020 at 23:10

The problem with trying to answer a question like this is that informal English has literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of ways to express sympathy for a bad outcome by blaming it on a pattern of bad outcomes due to chance. This is made worse because (a) such informal phrases change relativly rapidly, and (b) they frequently employ irony to say one thing literally while meaning the opposite.

You always have all the luck, don't you?

is an example where the meaning is

You never have any luck, do you?

"Tough luck" and "bad luck" are probably the most common choices that avoid a hint of irony.

  • Hi Jeff and thank you for the answer. Just may I ask you for which dialect are you speaking?
    – A-friend
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 2:23
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    In my experience (BrEng) at least, using "Tough Luck" is generally more negative. I wouldn't say it if you lose a hand of poker, I'd use it if I'm telling you to go to hell. e.g. If I'm closing the shop and you say "But I wanted to buy X", "Tough Luck!" Commented May 14, 2020 at 10:45
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    @ObsidianPhoenix I reckon you're right, but I'd say the original meaning works too; it all depends on your tone of voice. However more generally, I think what OP and this post have missed, at least if I interpreted the question correctly, is that all of these are said by other people to the unlucky one, whereas OP is looking for something a person would say themselves if they are unlucky.
    – Muzer
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 11:01
  • @A-friend I speak American English in what would formerly have been known as the received version. Commented May 14, 2020 at 12:38
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    You have to be really careful with "tough luck" - intonation and context is everything. It can be almost as rude as "fuck you" depending on how you say it. I'd suggest ESL speakers avoid it until they're very comfortable with the ways it can be interpreted. In the wrong way it's not sympathetic at all - quite the opposite, trivializing the person's predicament and expressing complete disinterest in their problems and a total disinclination to help.
    – J...
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 19:38

"That is the story of my life!" Wiktionary

You can take this from fairly mild, "The bus pulled out just as I got there--story of my life!" to extreme depending on tone of voice, context, and adding in swearing to taste. ("The bus pulled out just as I got there, and ran over my bicycle on the way--story of my fucking life!")

With enough context and the right tone of voice, you can just say "typical" or "that's typical" (or even "that's sooooo typical!"). For example, if you have someone running up to the bus waving and the bus pulling away, they could just say "Typical!" (I can't figure out what part of speech this is or find a good reference, but it's common usage. Maybe someone else can add a reference here.)

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