Break a Leg

This year I'm taking part in the Dog Days of Summer Podcasting Challenge, a fun little project where people around the world try to publish a new show every day for 30-ish days. Today is the fourth episode of the arc, and we'll look at the interesting phrase "break a leg" ... which is an odd thing to say to someone for good luck before they do something big, especially if it’s their first attempt.

The word 'break' has many meanings - the Oxford English Dictionary lists 57 distinct uses of it as a verb alone. That gives considerable scope for speculation over what is meant by this phrase. The most common interpretation of 'break' in this context is 'to deviate from a straight line', as in the cricketing term ‘off break', to unstraighten the leg by bending at the knee, by bowing or curtseying.

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Episode 061 Download This Episode (4.3 MB)
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