In English we use the phrase "fingers crossed" to express anticipation of good luck. Except for the word by word translation "dedos cruzados", does Latin American Spanish have an equivalent phrase?

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    Just like that. "Cruzar los dedos" or "tengo los dedos cruzados para que Servia gane la medalla de oro" :-)
    – DGaleano
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 18:52
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    Clearly it doesn't work since USA beat Serbia 96 to 66 for the gold medal :-)....BTW sorry misspelling Serbia on my last comment
    – DGaleano
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 21:05
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    @DGaleano "Servia" se usa muy poco pero no es está mal, según el DRAE. De todos modos, "Serbia" es más correcto.
    – JMVanPelt
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 0:52
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    When I was a child, I remember Servia as the usual form. At some time, it changed into Serbia, which is indeed the etimological spelling. But it took me some time to get used into it.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 10:10
  • @DGaleano "servia" sounds bad to a half-Serbian half-latino like me. hearing is is the same, reading it I had to go over it twice for it to resonate.
    – Ivàn
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 9:39

2 Answers 2


In Spanish we just say cruzar los dedos. From the comment by DGaleano I can also affirm that this is also used in Latin America (or at least in Colombia, where he is from).

Cruza los dedos, ¡empieza el sorteo de la lotería!
Cross fingers, the lottery is about to start

Note your word by word translation is also good: I have also heard dedos cruzados sometimes. Especially when used as an imperative.

For example, in a context of a game, some players may tell each other:

Dedos cruzados, empieza el partido
Cross fingers, the match is about to start

I by the way found some explanations on the expression. In Significado y origen de expresiones famosas they say:

Se adjudica a los esclavos negros en América del Norte. Aquellos que mutaron sus creencias y se convirtieron a la fe cristiana, cuando estaban esposados o con las manos atadas y no podían usarlas con libertad para formar una cruz o santiguarse, apelaban a cruzar dos dedos de alguna mano para darle forma al símbolo de los cristianos y así invocar a Dios o elevar una plegaria. Se trataba, entonces, de un recurso para practicar la fe ante situaciones adversas, muy alejado del sentido actual. Hoy consiste en un gesto supersticioso, al que se apela para espantar la mala suerte.

But others state other things. In general, though, there is always the underlying idea of making a cross with the fingers to symbol the Christian cross and make it "protect" oneself against the bad luck.

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    According to the English Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossed_fingers the phrase is much earlier than the slave trade and may date from the earliest years of Christianity but it may have arrived into Spanish much later via North America of course.
    – mdewey
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 12:40

In Mexico they also say "(hacer) changuitos" , which literally translates as "(making) little monkeys".

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    I believe you mean "hacer changuitos" which does not translate to "making little monkeys" but is equivalent to "cruzar los dedos" (crossing one's fingers). As walen mentioned, just complete your answer because it's indeed a valid one. :)
    – Krauss
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 8:33

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