toi, toi, toi

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See also: toi toi toi

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From German toi, toi, toi, which see for more.

Pronunciation[edit]

Interjection[edit]

toi, toi, toi

  1. (theater, opera) A superstitious expression of encouragement prior to a performance.
    Synonyms: (theatre) break a leg, (considered to bring misfortune if used in the theatre) good luck

Usage notes[edit]

This expression may not be readily understood outside the context of the opera, theatre or music.

Translations[edit]

Further reading[edit]

German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Attested since the 19th century. Spread more generally through various songs of the 1920s and 1930s.[1] Widely considered onomatopoeic for spitting. Spitting out three times is a superstitious act that remains common in several European as well as non-European cultures. In polite circles this was considered rude and hence replaced with the onomatopoeia. Compare also the idea of touch wood, the equivalent of which in German-speaking Europe is to knock on wood three times.

It is possible, though unprovable, that the specific form of the onomatopoeia might have been reinforced by the word Teufel (“devil”, with the superstitious idea that saying something negative will have a positive effect, compare Hals- und Beinbruch) or by Yiddishטוב(tov, good).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈtɔʏ̯ ˈtɔʏ̯ ˈtɔʏ̯/

Interjection[edit]

toi, toi, toi!

  1. (colloquial) good luck; an expression of encouragement
    Synonyms: alles Gute, Hals- und Beinbruch, viel Glück
    Na, dann toi, toi, toi!So, good luck then!
    • 1992, “Die da!?”, in 4 gewinnt, performed by Die Fantastischen Vier:
      Herzlichen Glückwunsch Smudo, toi, toi, toi / Du kannst dir sicher sein, dass ich mich für dich freu’
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
    • 2011, Daniel Hope, Toi, toi, toi!: Pannen und Katastrophen in der Musik, Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, →ISBN:
      Und jedem, der Musik macht, kann ich nur wünschen, dass ihm die Inspiration niemals ausgeht, egal was hin und wieder auf der Bühne passieren mag. In diesem Sinne – Toi, toi, toi!
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
    • 2015, So wird man zum Sylter: Oder zum Bayern, Berliner, Hamburger, Kölner, Schwaben, Österreicher, Schweizer, Riva Verlag, →ISBN:
      Hier erfahren Sie in sieben einfachen Schritten, was Sie beachten müssen, um nicht anzuecken (oder hochkant wieder rauszufliegen, siehe Schweiz). Viel Spaß und toi, toi, toi!
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
  2. (colloquial) knock on wood; a superstitious expression used to avoid the negative consequences of some utterance
    Bisher hat alles gut geklappt – toi, toi, toi.
    So far it has all worked out well – touch wood!

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christoph Gutknecht (2016-03-18), “Toi, toi, toi!”, in Jüdische Allgemeine[1]

Further reading[edit]