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wishing a person "good luck" would be considered bad luck, therefore an alternative way of wishing luck was developed. The expression is sometimes used outside"Break a leg" is a typical English idiom used in the context of theatre or other performing arts to wish a performer "good luck". An ironic or non-literal saying of uncertain origin (a dead metaphor), "break a leg" is commonly said to actors and musicians before they go on stage to perform, likely first used in this context in the United States in the 1930s or possibly 1920s, originally documented without specifically theatrical associations. When said at the onset of an audition, "break a leg" is used to wish success to the person being auditioned. The expression probably reflects a superstition (perhaps a theatrical superstition) in which directly wishing a person "good luck" would be considered bad luck, therefore an alternative way of wishing luck was developed. The expression is sometimes used outside the theatre. Among professional dancers, the traditional saying is not "break a leg", but the French word "merde".