break a leg v.
1. (also break one’s leg) of a womanizing man, to become father to a child, whether one wishes to or not.
|Dial. of Craven [Yorks.] 285: He hath broken his leg, ‘of a dissolute person on whom a child has been filiated’.|
2. (also break one’s leg) to become pregnant out of wedlock; often ext. as break a/one’s leg above the knee.
|Wild-Goose-Chase IV i: She was first a Ladies Chamber-maid, there slip’d And broke her leg above the knee.|
|Art of Wheedling 189: Though she hath broken her leg, she is sound enough for a Drawer, newly out of his time, who, having credit for wine, his house is furnished with the money that did set his wife’s broken leg.|
|Proverbs (3rd edn) 200: She hath broken her leg above the knee. i.e. had a bastard.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: leg [...] to break a leg, a woman who has had a bastard, is said to have broken a leg.|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].|
|DN III:iv 294: break one’s leg, v. phr. Of a woman, to become with child illegitimately.‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in|
|Facetiae Americana 19: She’d break her leg above the knee, pound, click and tread as well.‘A French Crisis’ in|
|Dict. of Invective (1991) 309: Variations on this theme, all casting the event in terms of an accident, include [...] break a leg, and break a leg above the knee.|
3. (also break one’s knee) of a young woman, to lose one’s virginity, to be seduced.
|Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 134: forligner. To copulate; ‘to break one’s knee’.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 33: break a leg To be seduced; to make a woman pregnant.|
4. to seduce.
|Sl. Dict. (1890).|
5. (US) to be arrested.
|Criminal Sl. 4: Broke a leg – Got arrested.|
|NY Tribune 8 June 7/5: To announce he is under arrest, he says he has ‘broken a leg’.|
|Keys to Crookdom 400: Capture. Caught [...] broke a leg.|
6. (orig. US) to hurry.
|N.Y. Eve Journal 5 Aug. 15: Tear up to 1492 Columbus and slip this wire to Mr. P.J. Flanigan – and break a leg getting back [HDAS].|
|Amer. Thes. Sl.|
|Catcher in the Rye (1958) 63: I could picture her breaking a goddam leg to get to the phone and tell my mother I was in New York.|