In Italian, to mean that somebody is very lucky, we say nato con la camicia (literally, "born with the shirt").

Is there an expression I could use in English that is more colorful than very lucky?


There are a number of expressions for someone who seems to have all the luck; for example, we might say he has all the luck. A perpetually fortunate person might also

  • lead a charmed life or blessed life. She lives as if under a magic spell that grants only good luck, or is looked with favor upon by God.
  • have been born under a lucky star, or other astrological phenomena.
  • be a lucky dog or lucky duck, informally. This expression is used both to say someone has enjoyed a recent string of good luck, and to say s/he lives with good luck in general. To tease enviously, one might say he's a lucky stiff, or in British English, a jammy bastard.
  • have nine lives. Such a person has escape perilous, perhaps deadly situations on many occasions.
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    Also, similar but a bit more old fashioned is born under the dog star, which means roughly the same thing. – Matt Feb 19 '13 at 0:05

There is a phrase:

born under a lucky star

and also
born with a silver spoon in his mouth although this connotes more of being born wealthy (which is a pretty lucky thing to have happened) than just being straight lucky.

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    But as the Emerson, Lake & Palmer track Lucky Man makes clear, just because you're "born with a silver spoon in your mouth" doesn't mean you'll continue to be lucky. – FumbleFingers Feb 17 '13 at 18:32
  • Yeah, war is rarely lucky for anyone. – Jim Feb 17 '13 at 18:37
  • I sometimes say, "That guy's a regular Mr. Magoo." but I'm pretty sure that's not a standard idiom. – Jim Feb 17 '13 at 18:40
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    @J.R.: Ah, but I think you'd have to agree that the final chorus after A bullet had found him \ His blood ran as he cried \ No money could save him \ So he laid down and he died is definitely "ironic". Most of us could do without that kind of "luck". (actually, I always hear it as so he lay down and he died, but that's pedantry for you! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 18 '13 at 0:07
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    @Fumble: That's one way to shrug off my dad's interpretation. :^) I suppose I'm biased, because I've always regarded my father as a man of much wisdom. – J.R. Feb 18 '13 at 0:42

In British English, there's a great term for this:

He came off his motorcycle going at 70mph and walked away? That's awfully jammy

Dave won the lottery? That jammy sod.

(In this case the offensiveness of the term "sod" is offset by the term "jammy", but be careful when using it).

The phrase jammy in this context comes from a brand of biscuits in the UK called Jammy Dodgers, hence someone who is able to dodge bad events or is very lucky can be referred to as jammy. Generally the word jammy is applied as an adjective to an offensive noun, such as jammy bastard, jammy sod etc, but a less offensive (and less common) form is to use the original:

You woke up two hours late for your interview, caught the wrong bus, and were still there before the interviewer? You jammy dodger.

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