Break a leg

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 2 20:57:34 UTC 2002

On Mon, 2 Dec 2002, Dave Wilton wrote:

> Partridge's "Dictionary of Catchphrases," Paul Beale, ed. has a pretty good
> write up on the phrase. No specific citations before the '70s though.
> Although it does record actors recalling the phrase from the '30s and '40s.
> HDAS has some cites from the '60s, IIRC.

The earliest citation in HDAS is dated 1964.  Here is earlier from
ProQuest Historical Newspapers:

1957 _N.Y. Times_ 25 Apr. 23  All-Square Playhouse, a New York University
student dramatic group, will present an original musical, "Break a Leg."
... Alan Mount, a senior has written the score and book.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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