Here's How This Rude Spanish Phrase Came To Mean 'Good Luck'

Photo: Getty/Denis Doyle

When Spanish people want to wish each other good luck, they say “Mucha mierda!”

You don’t need to speak Castilian do understand what that means: a lot of shit.

You’ll hear friends in bars saying it to each other, but if you could ask them where the phrase, which turns a negative into a positive, came from, most wouldn’t know.

Business Insider found out from Madrid-based tour guide Nygil Murrell during a tour of Spain’s capital last week.

Turns out it’s the Spanish equivalent (roughly) of “break a leg”, a theatrical phrase that people in the acting industry would use to wish each other luck.

Murrell explained that theatre was a popular entertainment for the poor, but of course the way to make money was have rich people come and see your show. Those people who inevitably arrived at the theatre by horse or horse-drawn carriages, leading to a pile of excrement accumulating while the animals waited outside.

The more rich people who came, the higher the pile of manure, so the way everyone involved with the show wished each other luck was hoping to see “mucha mierda” outside.

Eventually it crossed over into common parlance, so now friends wish each other big piles of poo, making the word mierda a little less vulgar than it otherwise seems.

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