"Toi toi toi" (English: // ) is an expression used in the performing arts to wish an artist success in an imminent performance. It is similar to "break a leg" and reflects a superstition that wishing someone "good luck" is in fact bad luck.
There are many theories as to the origin of Toi toi toi as an idiom. In folklore it was used to ward off a spell or hex, often accompanied by knocking on wood or spitting. One origin theory sees "toi toi toi" as the onomatopoeic rendition of spitting three times, a common practice in many parts of the world to ward off evil spirits. Saliva traditionally had demon-banishing powers. Another theory claims the origin to be a threefold warning of the devil (Teufel, pronounced as TOY-fell) in German (n.b. not the French "toi").[ citation needed ]
Also from Rotwelsch tof and from Yiddish tov ("good", derived from the Hebrew טוב and with phonetic similarities to the Old German tiuvel "Devil").
An alternate operatic good luck charm originating from Italy is the phrase In bocca al lupo! (In the mouth of the wolf) with the response Crepi! or Crepi il lupo! (May it [the wolf] die!). Amongst actors "Break a leg" is the usual phrase, while for professional dancers the traditional saying is merde (French, meaning "shit"). In Spanish, the phrase is mucha mierda, or "lots of shit", as in Portuguese (“muita merda”).
An idiom is a phrase or expression that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom's figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. Idioms occur frequently in all languages; in English alone there are an estimated twenty-five million idiomatic expressions.
Chengyu are a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expression, most of which consist of four characters. Chengyu were widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in vernacular Chinese writing and in the spoken language today. According to the most stringent definition, there are about 5,000 chéngyǔ in the Chinese language, though some dictionaries list over 20,000. Chéngyǔ are considered the collected wisdom of the Chinese culture, and contain the experiences, moral concepts, and admonishments from previous generations of Chinese. Nowadays, chéngyǔ still play an important role in Chinese conversations and education. Chinese idioms are one of four types of formulaic expressions, which also include collocations, two-part allegorical sayings, and proverbs.
You can't have your cake and eat it (too) is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech. The proverb literally means "you cannot simultaneously retain possession of a cake and eat it, too". Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. It can be used to say that one cannot have two incompatible things, or that one should not try to have more than is reasonable. The proverb's meaning is similar to the phrases "you can't have it both ways" and "you can't have the best of both worlds."
Theatrical superstitions are superstitions particular to actors or the theatre.
Knocking on wood is an apotropaic tradition of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that one is doing or intending to do so, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after making a favorable prediction or boast, or a declaration concerning one's own death or another unfavorable situation.
The sign of the horns is a hand gesture with a variety of meanings and uses in various cultures. It is formed by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb.
Apotropaic magic or protective magic is a type of magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye. Apotropaic observances may also be practiced out of superstition or out of tradition, as in good luck charms, amulets, or gestures such as crossed fingers or knocking on wood. Many different objects and charms were used for protection throughout history.
"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, "break a leg" is commonly said to actors and musicians before they go on stage to perform or before an audition. Though the term likely originates in German, the English expression is first attributed in the 1930s or possibly 1920s, originally documented without specifically theatrical associations. Among professional dancers, the traditional saying is not "break a leg", but the French word "merde".
In lexicography, a lexical item is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words (catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon (≈ vocabulary). Examples are cat, traffic light, take care of, by the way, and it's raining cats and dogs. Lexical items can be generally understood to convey a single meaning, much as a lexeme, but are not limited to single words. Lexical items are like semes in that they are "natural units" translating between languages, or in learning a new language. In this last sense, it is sometimes said that language consists of grammaticalized lexis, and not lexicalized grammar. The entire store of lexical items in a language is called its lexis.
To cross one's fingers is a hand gesture commonly used to wish for luck. Occasionally it is interpreted as an attempt to implore God for protection. The gesture is referred to by the common expressions "cross your fingers", "keep your fingers crossed", or just "fingers crossed".
Russian traditions and superstitions include superstitions and folk customs of Russians. Many of these traditions are staples of everyday life, and some are even considered common social etiquette despite being rooted in superstition. The influence of these traditions and superstitions vary, and their perceived importance depends on factors such as region and age.
To kick the bucket is an English idiom considered a euphemistic, informal, or slang term meaning "to die". Its origin remains unclear, though there have been several theories.
The hamsa is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout North Africa and in the Middle East and commonly used in jewellery and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many times throughout history, the hamsa has been traditionally believed to provide defense against the evil eye.
"The devil is in the details" is an idiom alluding to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details; it indicates that "something may seem simple, but in fact the details are complicated and likely to cause problems". It comes from the earlier phrase "God is in the details", expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; that is, details are important.
An idiom is a common word or phrase with a figurative, non-literal meaning that is understood culturally and differs from what its composite words' denotations would suggest; i.e. the words together have a meaning that is different from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. By another definition, an idiom is a speech form or an expression of a given language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or cannot be understood from the individual meanings of its elements. For example, an English speaker would understand the phrase "kick the bucket" to mean "to die" – and also to actually kick a bucket. Furthermore, they would understand when each meaning is being used in context.
A superstition is any belief or practice considered by non-practitioners to be irrational or supernatural, attributed to fate or magic, perceived supernatural influence, or fear of that which is unknown. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, amulets, astrology, fortune telling, spirits, and certain paranormal entities, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific (apparently) unrelated prior events.
It takes two to tango is a common idiomatic expression which suggests something in which more than one person or other entity are paired in an inextricably-related and active manner, occasionally with negative connotations.
In bocca al lupo is an Italian idiom originally used in opera and theatre to wish a performer good luck prior to a performance.
Bocca di Lupo is a small Italian restaurant on Archer Street in London's Soho district which was rated the best London restaurant in Time Out magazine's 2009 listing, and won the "Best Wine List" award in Tatler magazine's 2013 restaurant awards, as well as a Michelin Guide "Bib Gourmand" award. The Time Out award was attributed partly to the restaurant's bargain prices, which increased significantly as its popularity grew. Bocca di Lupo serves cuisine from a variety of Italian regions, with each dish's origin labelled on the menu.
"Tambov wolf is your comrade" is a Russian language phraseme, a stereotypical response to someone to make it clear that the speaker does not consider the interlocutor to be their close associate, contrary to interlocutor's appeal. A similar term is Bryansk wolf.