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What's the origin of the expression "Them's the breaks", meaning "that's how the cookie crumbles"?

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It is of American origin and comes from the game of pool.

  • If it's from pool, why is "breaks" plural? It's always singular in pool. – Peter Shor Dec 28 '12 at 13:47
  • Does this come from an authoritative source? – Philip Seyfi Dec 28 '12 at 15:33
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    Google Books shows Them's the breaks emerging from That's the breaks [of the game] (1929-present) in a 1958 story by Robert Sheckley in Galaxy. Breaks of the game goes back at least to Billiards: Game, 500 Up (1846), where the game described appears to my ignorance to be what is now called 'English Billiards'. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 28 '12 at 15:47

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