break a leg


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to break a leg: Idioms
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

break a leg

A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially a theater actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one "good luck" will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown. You all look great in your costumes! Break a leg!
See also: break, leg
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Break a leg!

Fig. Good luck! (A special theatrical way of wishing a performer good luck. Saying "good luck" is considered by actors to be a jinx.) "Break a leg!" shouted the stage manager to the heroine. Let's all go and do our best. Break a leg!
See also: break
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

break a leg

1. Fracture one or more leg bones, as in She fell down the stairs and broke her leg in two places. [c. a.d. 1000]
2. Good luck! as in Play well, Rob-break a leg! The origin of this imperative to a performer about to go onstage is unclear; it may have been a translation of the German Hals und Beinbruch ("Break your neck and leg"), also of unknown origin. Equally mysterious is the Italian equivalent, In bocca di lupe, "Into the mouth of the wolf." [c. 1900]
See also: break, leg
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

break a leg

People say break a leg to a performer who is about to go on stage as a way of wishing them good luck. Jason sent Phillip a fax before Monday's show, with the greeting: `Break a leg and enjoy yourself.' Note: Many performers consider that it is unlucky to say `good luck' directly to anyone. Instead, they pretend to wish them bad luck.
See also: break, leg
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

break a leg!

good luck! theatrical slang
See also: break
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

break a ˈleg!

(spoken) used to wish somebody good luck: You’d better leave now if you want to arrive early for the exam. Break a leg!
It is thought that wishing for something bad to happen will prevent it from happening. This expression is used especially in the theatre.
See also: break
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

Break a leg!

exclam. Good luck! (A special theatrical way of wishing a performer good luck. Saying good luck is considered to be a jinx.) “Break a leg!” shouted the stage manager to the heroine.
See also: break
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

break a leg

Used to wish someone, such as an actor, success in a performance.
See also: break, leg
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

break a leg

Good luck. There is some dispute as to when and where this seemingly nasty advice originated. It may be a translation of the German Hals und Beinbruch (Break your neck and leg), which allegedly originated among World War I aviators jocularly wishing each other well. In any event, it became widespread in the theater, both in Germany and later in the United States, and then came into more general use. It still is most often addressed to performers of some kind.
See also: break, leg
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also: