Do you know that when we want to wish “good luck” to someone, in Italian we use the expression “in bocca al lupo”?
Many have wondered where this curious expression comes from. There are no reliable sources in this regard, but it seems that this way of saying derives from the language of hunting.
It would seem that in the past the hunters said “in bcca al lupo” before a hunt: a superstitious form, to ward off the trick, to say “good hunting.”
Those who went hunting wolves had to get very close to their prey and therefore metaphorically “enter the mouth of the wolf.”
To this wish, we respond “crepi il lupo” (crepare = to die) to say “we hope that everything goes well” since to kill a wolf it takes a lot of courage and luck.
The wolf, since ancient times, is considered a dangerous and greedy animal and the shepherds were deeply scared of it. An attack by the wolf would undoubtedly have led to the death of most of the flock and therefore to irreparable damage to their activity.
The expression today is mainly used by students who wish “in bocca al lupo” when they face an important exam.
Please, if you are superstitious, always remember to answer “Crepi!” And never “thank you!” If you want to ward off bad luck!