Superstition: 6 words and phrases that bring bad luck


The French would be more and more superstitious, or, at least, they would believe more in the paranormal than a few years ago. According to a study by Ifop*, only 3 out of 10 French people admit to being superstitious, but 69% of them believe in at least one “lucky” sign, such as clover or lily of the valley.

These beliefs are believed to be more prevalent among younger, less affluent people and women, and have been increasingly embraced over the past 20 years! Indeed, faith in astrology as well as in witchcraft would have jumped by 11%.

Louise Jussian, in charge of “Politics and current affairs” studies at Ifop, identifies this increase as the result of a well-defined historical and social context. Indeed, the post-war period would have been a materialistic and hyper-rational era. With the removal of the memory of the war years, our society is on the way to becoming more spiritual, in which certain beliefs hitherto considered taboo are less difficult to accept.

Note, however, that the French seem to give more importance to positive than negative superstitions. Could this be a hint of unexpected optimism that has crept into French mentalities? On the other hand, nearly 7 out of 10 French people believe they are unlucky, a proportion that has jumped since 2014.

Find below 6 words or expressions that should not be pronounced because they are considered to bring bad luck.

*Ifop study for Frédéric Esteban conducted with a sample of 1,012 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over and carried out by self-administered online questionnaire from April 28 to 29, 2022.