"Break a leg!"(Phrase Origins)
There is a superstition in the theatre that wishing an actor good luck "tempts the gods" and causes bad luck, so negative expressions are substituted. In French one says _Merde!_ ("Shit!") when an actor is about to go on stage. The German expression is _Hals und Beinbruch_="neck and leg fracture" (_Bein_ used to mean "bone" in German, so the translation "neck and bone break" may be correct if the expression is sufficiently old). The leading theory is that the English expression came from the German, possibly via Yiddish. Other suggested origins are: John Wilkes Booth, the actor who broke his leg shortly after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln in 1865; the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who "had but one leg and it would be good luck to be like her"; wishing someone a "big break", that is, good luck leading to success; and the Hebrew _hatzlacha u-brakha_ = "success and blessing".
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