break a leg

break a leg

Meaning | Synonyms

  • good luck
  • best wishes
  • stroke of luck
  • to wish someone luck especially before a performance

Example Sentences

  1. Break a leg!” shouted the stage director to his actors before the beginning of the play.
  2. You have an exam tomorrow? Break a leg!
  3. “My first stage performance is scheduled for tonight.” “Well, break a leg!”
  4. Break a leg!” I shouted out to him before he rushed in for his auditions.
  5. When the team went out for the final race, the coach shouted out to them “break a leg!”
  6. I wish you good luck on the completion of your book writing for publishing. Break a leg!

Origin

This phrase has its origin in the world of theater. Performers had a superstition that saying “good luck” would actually bring them bad luck, so “break a leg” was used instead.

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B 19 Thoughts

19 Thoughts

I feel that ‘Break a leg’ means ‘Give your Best’. This is a type of an encouragement which the near ones shout to their fellow/s who is/are going to take part in a completion. Perhaps this originated from a dance competition. Whoever danced for a longer period on a stage he/she would win. The dancing for a longer period means staying on your legs for a longer period and go on dancing till your legs give way, in other words, till your legs break. Hence ‘Break a leg’

- Surendra Singh October 3, 2022

I’m not a native speaker of English. I was told by my native friend that this idiom is only used before a performance on stage. But the example above shows it can be used before a test. Would someone explain/ share opinion?

- Bu Christin September 12, 2022

It originates from when successful theater performers would to bow so many times after a show that they would break a leg.

- Marko March 14, 2022

Well, I think “break a leg” is an informal phrase, therefore it is not suitable for formal occasion or in writing particularly. it is really very expression. But I think breaking someone’s leg for oneself is a paltry idea.

- Jacob November 10, 2021

If they break a leg, they’re in the cast.

- Chad February 24, 2021

It is very interesting to wish someone’s luck by break a leg word.

- Yalda February 19, 2021

As Katelyn went to perform in the school play, her mother yelled, “Break a Leg!” She wanted Katelyn to do her very best.

- Anonymous December 3, 2020

The most common theory refers to an actor breaking the “leg line” of the stage. In the early days of theater, this is where ensemble actors were queued to perform. If actors were not performing, they had to stay behind the “leg line,” which also meant they wouldn’t get paid.

If you were to tell the actor to “break a leg,” you were wishing them the opportunity to perform and get paid.

- Jim S. November 18, 2020

Good luck would be considered bad luck. Therefore an alternative way of wishing luck was developed. An expression that uses words to mean something different than what they usually mean.

- Zohreh Iraniparast September 13, 2020

It was a very interesting and funny term that we wish to break someone’s leg in order to be successful. 😂

- Mitra September 10, 2020

Imagine the sinister undertone this expression may carry if you shout it out to an agressive fighter during an MMA fight!

- Anonymous August 27, 2020

If an actor, actually broke a leg on stage,
the play would be front page news the next day.
everyone would be talking about it for a month.
something like breaking a leg would make any play an instant success..

- Charles Kafka June 22, 2020

It is considered bad luck to say “good luck” to a performer before they go on stage for a performance (it is, in a way, insulting also because they don’t need luck if they have skill). That is why people say “break a leg:” because it is just about the worst thing that could happen to you while on stage, so it is the opposite of saying “good luck.”

- Californian January 19, 2019

Could break a leg refer to the incomparable actress/ renaissance woman who lost a leg to gangrene. Although she didn’t break a leg on the stage, she did act and have a remarkable life on one leg.

- JuneHilde November 7, 2018

Vennesa Merrell said, “Break a leg”, to David while he took it in a sad way.

- Jersha July 23, 2018

Hi that break a leg mean good luck!

- Caden Eisenhauer May 25, 2018

lmao @payton.
I think you scared her, especially if you’d shout.

- Zedboy April 27, 2018

It is a really funny idiom.

- Macaw January 18, 2018

I said break a leg to my friend on stage and she broke like her back and leg.

- Payton March 29, 2016

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