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Break a leg!

[ 2010-04-20 10:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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Break a leg!
Nelly Min

Reader's question:

A: Really thanks a million; you're a real life saver.
B: Break a leg! Could you explain “break a leg”?

“Break a leg” is an idiom that means, “Good luck.” It is usually said to actors and musicians before they go out onto stage to perform. The expression reflects a theatrical superstition in which wishing a person "good luck" is considered bad luck. The expression is sometimes used outside the theater as superstitions and customs travel through other professions and then into common use. There are several theories behind the etymology, and all are heavily debated. In Britain, the most common idea about the origin of the expression comes from an old theater tradition, where actors would sometimes receive tips from the audience during the final bows or curtain call. Actors would ‘take a knee,’ breaking their leg line, on stage and pick up the money thrown by the audience. As a result, when a person wishes someone to ‘break a leg,’ it refers to wishing them success in their performance so they would have to kneel down and collect a tip.

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About the author:

Nelly Min is a journalist at the China Daily website.