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I Found Out Why People Tell Performers to "Break a Leg"

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I never knew where this came from! But Jonathan Lipp at Full Compass is putting together a glossary that includes theater terms, and asked me to look it over. Well, it's full of terms I never knew, and now the veil of ignorance has been lifted from my eyes:


A good luck saying from Vaudeville where "breaking the leg" (the narrow curtain at the side of the stage) meant getting on stage, which meant getting paid.


Okay, so y'all knew that. I didn't. I didn't know what BFL stood for, either...and I found out "Send in the clowns" comes from sending in clowns when something went wrong in a circus or rodeo, to keep the audience engaged.


Always new things to learn...!

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BFL is new to me, a quick search and I still don't know what you mean :)


BFL Bass Fishing League (sponsored By Wal-Mart)

BFL Butterfly Labs (Leawood, KS)

BFL Bat for Lashes (musician)

BFL Body for Life

BFL Baltijos Fotografijos Linija (Lithuanian: Baltic Line Photography)

BFL Bios Feature List

BFL Buffer Warning Level

BFL Bay Ferries Limited (Canada)

BFL Bag for Life (environment)

BFL Bharat Forge Ltd. (Pune, India)

BFL Big Fat Liar

BFL Breakfast for Learning (Canada)

BFL Back Focal Length

BFL Birds in Forested Landscapes (Cornell University program)

BFL Brothers for Life

BFL Bakersfield, CA, USA - Meadows Field (Airport Code)

BFL Business/Foreign Language (various organizations)

BFL Barbados Farms Ltd.

BFL Big Fat Lotto (lottery)

BFL Brain Functions Laboratory (Japan)

BFL Brigade Française Libre (French: Free French Brigade)

BFL Banned for Life

BFL Break For Lunch

BFL Bomb Fall Line

BFL Buffered Field-Effect-Transistor Logic

BFL Board Failure Light

BFL Black Flag Labs (brand; UK)

BFL Bursa Fen Lisesi (Turkey science school)

BFL Breast Firm and Lactating

BFL Bakery Future Lines (Italy)

BFL Best Friend for Life

BFL Beamforming Lens

BFL Brian Farrington Ltd (UK)

BFL Betwin Foodball League (France)

BFL Bibliothèque Freudienne de Limoges (French psychology association; Limoges, France)

BFL Bundesamt für Landestopografie (Swiss Federal Office of Topography)

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com

Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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I didn't know that was the origin of 'break a leg', very interesting. I'd always been told it was a funny way of wishing luck by stating one of the worst things that could happen to you whilst performing. Which given what a cynical bunch creative types could be, didn't surprise me :)
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BFL is new to me, a quick search and I still don't know what you mean :)


Well given that it's a theatrical term, it stands for "Big F****** Light." FYI - F****** does NOT stand for "fishing."

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and the equivalent in French "Merde"


"The history of "merde" begins in 19th-century Paris, when patrons of the Paris Opéra Ballet would arrive at the Palais Garnier in horse-drawn carriages. If there was a full house, there was sure to be a lot of horse manure in front of the theater. Saying "merde" became a way to tell your fellow dancers to have a good show for the packed audience. According to Rhodes-Stevens, "When dancers say 'merde' to one another, they are wishing each other a full and approving audience.""

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