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There are many situations in which we would wish someone "Good luck!", for instance when someone is embarking in something difficult or dangerous. How can we express a similar thing in Italian?

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    Are you using the expression earnestly, as in "I really hope you succeed", or sarcastically, as in "Are you trying to empty that pool with a teaspoon? Good luck with that!"? For the former, the existing answers are good; for the latter, I'd use "Auguri!" instead. – Federico Poloni Jan 10 '15 at 21:16
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The "neutral" way is the literal translation:

Buona fortuna!

The more colloquial way (not rude or offensive, can generally be used with anyone, though it might depend on the situation) is an idiomatic expression:

In bocca al lupo!

to which the person who is wished luck usually replies:

Crepi (il lupo)!

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    the second is good especially when the other person is superstitious – laika Jan 10 '15 at 19:44
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    Si potrebbe anche dire 'in culo alla balena', ma poi ... come si risponde? – Elberich Schneider Jan 10 '15 at 21:28
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    @april: This is not something you just use with anyone. When in doubt, just avoid it. Non avevo dubbi che qualcuno l'avrebbe menzionato. Che io sappia la risposta è "speriamo che non caghi". – persson Jan 10 '15 at 21:55
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    Just to clarify, «In bocca al lupo!» is a rough equivalent of «Break a leg!» – DaG Jan 10 '15 at 22:44
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    @Ant For example, before exams superstitious people don't want to hear "buona fortuna" or "auguri", because it would bring bad luck. For "scaramanzia" you can say to them only "in bocca al lupo". Then of course not so many people are really superstitious, so they wouldn't care for either of the wishes – laika Jan 11 '15 at 15:27
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"Buona fortuna" is the literal translation of "Good luck".
If you're in an informal context (eg talking to friends), you may want to use "In bocca al lupo" (literally: [go] into the wolf's mouth) instead.

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I'll depart from the obvious answers, and suggest you to say: "Auguri!".

This is the most neutral greeting in most cases: no particular register, doesn't assume a good or bad occasion, doesn't invoke the sorte etc. Can sometimes be sarcastic; but if you are sincere it won't, just like "Good luck".

I'm pointing this alternative out because it happens to me almost daily that I think "Auguri!" for someone who only speaks English, but I'm prevented from saying it because in English any translation may be ambiguous.

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