Thursday, June 26, 2008

Word Origins: Break a Leg

History of Break a Leg

English Word Origins : Learn More here --> Learn English Online

The idiom "Break a Leg means "good luck". It is often used as a greeting among the actors before they go onstage.

The clear origin of such a term is unclear.

Some said it is adapted from other languages such as Italian and Frence but one of the most reasonable is the following.

In the old time, at the end of performances, the actors would receive tips from the audiences. They would throw money, usually coins, onto the stage if they like the show.

The better the show is the more tips they would receive on the stage.

After the show finishes, the actors would have to, kneel down to pick up those coins.
Humorously, if they kneel up and down until their leg is broken that mean they make a huge amount of tips on that show.

Therefore, it became a humor among the actors to say "break a leg" before go onstage.
Now the time is changed the way people pay tips are also changed but the word is still remained.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Word Origins : Jaywalker

History of Jaywalker

English Word Origins : Learn More here --> Learn English Online

You can see the sign "No Jaywalking" or "No Jaywalker" on the street to remind pedestrians not to cross the road or violate the traffic law. Do you want to know why do we call those violator Jaywalker?

The word jay is used to call person from up country who just came to the big city.
This person usually do something strange in the city people eyes such as cross the street in a prohibited area etc.

Therefore, jaywalker is an analogy of person who does something city people don't do. "No Jaywalker" sign is to remind people not to do something strange that the others don't do which, in turn, violates the law.
Actually, the real meaning of Jay is a type of birds. They are so colorful but look silly and clumsy. That's why we use the word jay to ironically call people who just come from up country.