to wing it


to do something without preparation

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“What distinguished the beginning of Conan O’Brien’s show was the sense that he was WINGING IT — that it was just one guy and a camera…”

Time Magazine

Did you
know?

wing it
idiom

- to say or do something without preparation, forethought, or sufficient information or experience; improvise

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language


WORD ORIGIN

This expression comes from the theatre. It alludes to an actor studying his part in the wings (the areas to either side of the stage) because he has been suddenly called on to replace another. First recorded in 1885, it eventually was extended to other kinds of improvisation based on unpreparedness.


IDIOMS

- be waiting in the wings = to be ready to be used or employed instead of someone or something else (He is waiting in the wings to take over as manager.)

- clip someone’s wings = to limit someone’s freedom (He never had the chance to get promoted because the company clipped his wings.)

- on a wing and a prayer = if you do something on a wing and a prayer, you do it hoping that you will succeed although you are not prepared enough for it (They don’t have much of a budget so they have to operate on a wing and a prayer.)

- take someone under your wing = to help and protect someone, especially someone who is younger than you or has less experience than you (He took him under his wing right after he joined the company.)

- spread your wings = to start to do new and exciting things for the first time in your life (I spread my wings after the children were grown and learned several new hobbies.)

(sources: American Heritage Dictionary, Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)


SYNONYMS

ad-hoc, ad-lib, dash off, do offhand, extemporize, from the hip, improvise, off the top of one’s head, quick and dirty, speak off the cuff, spur-of-the-moment,  throw it together, unpremeditated, WING IT


Practice OWAD in a conversation today, say something like:

“That was a great presentation considering that you were just WINGING IT.”


THANKS to Peter for suggesting today's phrase.


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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