There are heaps of ways we refer to something being speedy or needing to be speedier. Here are a few:
-quick as a bunny
-in three shakes of a lamb's tail (only two shakes in the UK)
-quick as a wink
-in the blink of an eye
-in a flash
-quick as lightning
-get the lead out
Here are some for which I could find source information:
-fast track (1934 from horse racing)
-pronto (1850) from Spanish &/or Italian from a word meaning prompt
-breakneck (1560s) moving so fast one is likely to break one’ s neck
-giddy up (1909) a mispronunciation of get up, also spelled gee-hup, gee-up & giddap.
-flat-out — most likely from horse-racing when horse & jockey flatten out to decrease wind resistance
-posthaste (1530s) with great speed - a request written on the envelopes of letters
-lickety-split (1852) most likely based on lick - a speedy sprint while racing - also lickety-cut, lickety-click, & licketie — probably related to quick as a lick
-faster than you can say "Jack Robinson" has numerous proposed sources, none of them confirmed, but all intriguing:
-Jack Robinson was US Secretary of the Treasury in the late 1700s & was able to get things done speedily in Congress
-another Jack Robinson was constable of the Tower of London, responsible for quickly successive beheadings
-another Jack Robinson was an English gentleman well-known for speedy changes of opinion
Have you got a favorite idiom regarding speediness, or did any of these sources surprise you? If so, please let me know in the comments section.
Thanks to this week’s sources, Etymonline.com, the OED, Merriam-Webster, Answers.com, ,& Wordnik.com. Image from Grumpy Goat Tattoo..
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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