Deffiniton Essay - I Meant to Say Good Luck

Topics: Luck, Superstition, Phrase Pages: 2 (663 words) Published: March 14, 2012
I meant to say good luck

An AUBG teacher told a student: “Go break a leg” for good luck, and the student actually broke a leg during a performance. The teacher felt somewhat responsible as if he wished bad luck upon the student. I think the teacher was sorry for not using a simple “Good luck!” Furthermore there are a lot of phrases that are used to wish good luck but have a bad literal meaning as “Break a leg”. Most people use them without considering their literal meaning and history. The Oxford dictionary describes the phrase “Break a leg” as slang for good luck. This idiom relates to theatre performers as they are extremely superstitious. According to a website “Wise Geek” the origins of this idiom can be found in Greek performances, as audience didn’t clap but stomped its feat. If the play was really good the audience would break their leg from too much stamping, as the AUBG student did. The term is also mentioned in the Shakespearian time when audience threw coins on the stage for good plays and the actors picking it up would have to knee and break their leg. By whishing an actor to break a leg you would wish him a successful performance. Now this is a standard way of wishing someone good luck. The term “Break a leg” has been misused. When used in theatre, this phrase makes sense, but today it is used for all kinds of situations: exams, competitions, meetings and it is slowly starting to lose its meaning. The use of the idiom can be sarcastic or cruel too, for example if a track runner wishes his opponent to break a leg. When I was told “Break a leg” before my basketball game I thought it was a curse. As a result I responded with the curse I knew: “Go get hit by a card”. Therefore I believe the idiom has the biggest strength when used in its original context related to performances. A Russian term: “Ni puha, ni pera” means neither down nor feathers. A friend told me of this expression and the legend that follows it. This legend tells about forest...
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