Photo: "Into the mouth of the wolf!" The famous Capitoline wolf Rome
The literal translation of “good luck” into Italian is buona fortuna. Unfortunately, sometimes wishing a person good luck in this way is actually considered bad luck!
If you want to wish someone good luck in Italian, you should say “in bocca al lupo!” Similar to telling someone to “break a leg” in English, "in bocca al lupo" has a funny literal translate. When wishing someone good luck this way, you are literally saying “into the mouth of the wolf!” The “wolf” may be a tough professor, a critical boss, or a difficult situation that is trying to swallow you up.
If someone wishes you good luck in Italian by saying “in bocca al lupo,” the correct response is “crepi lupo!” or simply “crepi!” You are saying “may the wolf die!” You can then go off to successfully conquer whatever beastly task awaits you.
Remember that if someone wishes you good luck in Italian, you should never thank them by saying “grazie.” This response will only bring you BAD luck! Crepi!
Have fun studying and practicing your Italian lessons- in bocca al lupo!