“Break a Leg” Meaning | What Does this Popular Idiom Mean?

The term ‘break a leg’ is a commonly used one and may be something you have heard many times in the past. But what exactly is the meaning behind the phrase? Are we actually telling someone to hurt themselves when we use it or is it more metaphorical? What are the origins behind this saying? Let’s take a look at the information surrounding this term and where it came from.

Break a Leg

Break a Leg Meaning

When you hear someone use the term ‘break a leg’ they are usually wishing the person they are talking to, good luck. The term is very commonly used in a theatrical setting for actors before they go on stage but it is now used more and more commonly in other settings.

Origin of this idiom

The idiomatic phrase ‘break a leg’ first came about because actors were superstitious when it came to wishing one another good luck before a performance. Due to this superstition, they came up with an alternative saying to mean the same thing without actually having to say the words good luck. It is said that the term was first used in the late 1800s when an actor jumped on stage and actually broke his leg in the process.

“Break a Leg” Examples

As we have already mentioned, the term is extremely popular in the performing arts sector and this is where it is most commonly used. However, many people use the term in other situations where good luck needs to be wished. For example, you might use it before someone goes for an important business meeting in which they need to impress the boss.

Example Sentences

  • You use the expression “break a leg” to wish an actor good luck.
  • Just wanted to drop you a note to say break a leg and all those other theatrical cliches.

Conversation Examples

Here are some examples of how this term might be used in day to day conversations.

Conversation 1:

  • Person 1: “I have my first performance with the Royal Shakespeare company tonight, I am so nervous.”
  • Person 2: “I’m sure you will be fantastic. Go and break a leg!”

Conversation 2:

  • Person 1: “Wish me luck, I am going for a job interview today.”
  • Person 2:Break a leg!”

Other Ways to Say the Phrase

There are, of course, many ways to wish someone good luck other than using the phrase ‘break a leg.’ Some of these ways might include the following examples.

  • Godspeed
  • Best of luck
  • Much luck
  • Good luck
  • Best wishes

Break a Leg Meaning | Picture

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