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Where does the phrase break a leg come from?

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"Break a leg" is an idiom used in theatre to wish a performer "good luck". 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.

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Popular etymology derives the phrase from the 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth, the actor turned assassin, leapt to the stage of Ford's Theater after the murder, breaking his leg in the process.

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