Break A Leg: Meaning and Origin

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What does the phrase ‘break a leg’ mean? 

The phrase ‘break a leg’ is an idiom used to convey good luck to a performer before a performance or play. It was first used in this context in the 1920s.

 Origin of the phrase ‘break a leg’.

The expression reflects a superstitious belief and is considered that wishing anyone luck directly would be considered to bring in bad luck.

When wishing somebody bad luck, it was believed that the opposite will occur. This phrase is 154 years and was first used in 1865.

While there are many false theories one popular one is that it began to be used after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

John Wilkes Booth an actor turned assassin claimed in his diary that after the murder of Abraham Lincoln, John jumped onto the stage in the Ford’s Theater but ended up breaking his leg in the process.

The phrase is also known to have origins in other languages.


Arya is an avid learner and loves to write. He likes to take on new interesting topics through in-depth research. Arya is also a trained singer, video editor, voice-over artist and loves photography.  

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