LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||04/JAN/2006 8:52 AM|
There are many stories and explanations about why we "knock on wood". At least among North Americans, it's seems related to the supersitition that by knocking on wood or touching wood, the opposite of what we say will not happen. For example: You say, "Tomorrow should be a beautiful day for the picnic. Knock on wood." You are hoping that by knocking on wood or touching on wood that the day will be beautiful and not the opposite (rain, windy, cold, etc.).
The expression is much more cultural than it is a sign that the speaker is superstitious and believes that somehow knocking on wood is going to prevent something bad from happening. Your grandfather did it, your mother did it, and now you do it. Why? Well, that's what you got used to as a kid.
I hope you'll have an easier time understanding the next joke. Knock on wood.
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