by the seat of your pants

by the seat of (one's) pants

Without a clear plan or direction. Often used in the phrase "fly by the seat of (one's) pants." I know my parents think that I'm just flying by the seat of my pants ever since I dropped out of college, but I just signed with a record label and am launching my singing career!
See also: of, pant, seat

by the seat of your pants

by instinct rather than logic or knowledge. informal
This expression was first used by pilots in the mid 20th century, in the form fly by the seat of your pants , meaning ‘fly a plane by relying on human judgement rather than navigational instruments’.
1977 Martin Walker National Front Mussolini had governed by the seat of his pants, guided in part by his early Socialism, in part by his…bombastic nationalism.
See also: of, pant, seat

(fly) by the seat of your ˈpants

act without careful thought and without making a plan in advance, hoping that you will be lucky and successful: He made careful plans and then found that everything had changed at the last minute, so in the end he had to fly by the seat of his pants.This idiom was first used by pilots to describe flying by using the way the plane felt as a guide to its condition. The seat of your pants is the part of your trousers/pants that you sit on.
See also: of, pant, seat
References in periodicals archive ?
I think once you get into it you really have to fly by the seat of your pants and really trust your own gut.
Everything's come so quickly you've got to fly by the seat of your pants and hope you've covered everything, then come back later and give a second look.
As companies start rising above the water line, they face the potential to revert back to decision making by the seat of your pants, made popular during the Internet boom," said Amir Hartman, co-founder and managing director at Mainstay Partners.
If we had an independent Scotland you wouldn't be flying planes, you'd be flying by the seat of your pants.
So make sure voltage checks are done by the book, not by the seat of your pants.
I have to say if we had an independent Scotland you wouldn't be flying planes, you'd be flying by the seat of your pants.
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