Break a leg


      • wish someone good luck
        To express well wishes or encouragement to someone before a performance or important event, typically in the performing arts or sports.

      • to succeed or have a successful performance
        To encourage someone to give their best effort and achieve success in their performance or task.

      • to experience something unexpected or surprising
        To indicate that something unexpected or surprising has happened, often used in a humorous or sarcastic tone.

    Examples of Break a leg

    • "Good luck with your audition tomorrow! Break a leg!"

      This is a common expression used to wish someone good luck, particularly in the performing arts. The origin of the phrase is uncertain, but it may have come from the superstition that wishing someone "good luck" could jinx them, so instead, people would say "break a leg" as a way to wish them success without invoking bad luck.

    • "I hope your presentation goes smoothly. Don't break a leg!"

      In this example, the idiom is being used to wish someone success in a non-performing arts context, such as a business presentation or speech.

    • "The lead actor in the play was nervous before opening night, but he heard people saying 'break a leg' backstage, which helped to calm his nerves."

      Here, the idiom is being used in a descriptive context to illustrate the superstition and tradition associated with wishing performers good luck.

    • "The director of the play jokingly told the actors, 'If anyone breaks a leg during the performance, I'll know who's not taking my advice seriously.'"

      This example shows how the idiom can be used humorously, as a way to lighten the mood and make a joke.

    • "The actress tripped and fell on stage during the performance, and the audience gasped, but she quickly got back up and said, 'Thanks for breaking my leg!'"

      In this example, the idiom is being used in a humorous and ironic way, as a way to acknowledge the audience's reaction and turn it into a joke.


    The idiom "break a leg" is commonly used to wish someone good luck or encourage them to succeed in a performance or task. It can also be used to express surprise or unexpected events.

    Origin of "Break a leg"

    The origin of this idiom is uncertain, but there are a few theories about its origins. One theory suggests that it originated in Ancient Greece, where actors would bend their knees and bow to the audience after a successful performance. The phrase "break a leg" may have been a way to wish them to physically break their leg in order to get more bows from the audience.

    Another theory suggests that the phrase originated in the world of theater, where it was believed that wishing someone good luck before a performance would actually bring them bad luck. Therefore, the phrase "break a leg" was used as a reverse psychology tactic to bring good luck instead.

    Regardless of its origins, the idiom "break a leg" has become a popular way to wish someone good luck or encourage them to succeed. It is often used in the context of performing arts, but can also be applied to any situation where someone is about to undertake a challenging task.