In a flash

Also, in a jiffy or second or trice. Quickly, immediately. For example, I’ll be with you in a flash, or He said he’d be done in a jiffy, or I’ll be off the phone in a second, or I felt a drop or two, and in a trice there was a downpour. The first idiom alludes to a flash of lightning and dates from about 1800. The word jiffy, meaning “a short time,” is of uncertain origin and dates from the late 1700s (as does the idiom using it); a second, literally one-sixtieth of a minute, has been used vaguely to mean “a very short time” since the early 1800s; and trice originally meant “a single pull at something” and has been used figuratively since the 1500s.


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    see: in a dither

  • In a fog

    adjective phrase In a dazed, disoriented, confused state; inattentive: He was so tired he was walking around in a haze (1888+) Also, in a haze. Preoccupied, not paying attention; also, at a loss, confused. For example, After the accident he went about in a fog, even though he had not been injured, or Millie always […]

  • In a funk

    adjective phrase Depressed; melancholy: Steve’s been in a funk since he lost his dog adverb phrase In a depressed, nervous, or frightened state: Jackson left San Francisco in a funk, he looked tired and sounded like a morose, defeated candidate (1743+ British)

  • In a holding pattern

    adverb phrase In abeyance; not in an active status; on the back burner [1950s+; fr the aviation term, found by 1948, for airplanes that are flying a prescribed circling route while awaiting clearance to land]

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