Description: Actors are told to 'break a leg' before a performance
Origin: 16th Century England
In Shakespeare's time, 'break' also meant to bend - and so bending a leg might refer to taking a bow. Alternatively, this phrase might have refer to rowdy theatre crowds who were known to stomp their approval on the floor instead of clapping.
In the United States this phrase has somehow became linked to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by the actor John Wilkes Booth, who broke his leg jumping out of a theatre box after the murder. Why this would become an expression of good luck to other actors is not clear.
Broken Leg . . . also available in
yellow . . .
Note: These superstitions
were researched and written by Stuart Macfarlane (Website:
and Tom Metcalfe (Website:
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