What Does the Expression “Three on a Match” Mean and Why Is it Considered Bad Luck?

Lighting three cigarettes in a row with one match was common practice among smokers until the advent of lighters.

It was especially practical to outdoorsmen or soldiers who needed to ration their matches.

“Three on a match” became bad luck during the Boer War (1899-1902).

Commonwealth soldiers discovered the hard way that an enemy sniper would train his sights on a match when it was struck and then focus and fire by the time the third man lit his cigarette.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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