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Breaking Bad Meaning

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  • In a 1930 movie, titled Behind the Makeup, a vaudeville clown meets a man weak with hunger and invites him home for a meal. In the course of conversation, at around 6:30 into the movie, the comic asks the man “Things been breakin’ bad for ya?” The implication is that breaking bad means for things to go hard for someone.

  • The phrase ‘breaking bad’ occurs in two early sound movies I know of, Behind the Make-Up (1930), and The Big Timer (1932). In both the sense is that things are going wrong.

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