fast and loose


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fast and loose

Describing actions that are reckless, unreliable, irresponsible, or thoughtless. I know these tabloids play fast and loose with the truth, but they're such a guilty pleasure of mine! I can assure you that I am not playing fast and loose with him; I intend to marry him some day. If you're going to play fast and loose, go work at another firm. That's not how we operate here.
See also: and, fast, loose

play fast and loose, to

To trifle with someone; to be unreliable and inconsistent. Several writers believe that this term, which dates from the sixteenth century, came from a cheating game called “fast and loose” that was played at fairs. A belt or strap was doubled and rolled up with the loop at the edge of a table. The customer had to catch the loop with a stick or skewer while the belt was unrolled, but it was so done that the feat was impossible. Shakespeare used the term figuratively in a number of plays, including Antony and Cleopatra (4.12): “Like a right gipsy, hath, at fast and loose, beguiled me to the very heart of loss.” Over the centuries, writers continued to use it for trifling with someone’s affections, as in Thackeray’s Lovel the Widower (1860): “She had played fast and loose with me.”
See also: and, fast, play

fast and loose

Not straightforward or honest. “Fast and Loose” was the medieval equivalent of the kind of con game now found in such scams as Three Card Monte. It involved two intricately arranged cloth straps. The victim was invited to choose one loop to place a stick through, and when the loop was pulled tight, the stick would be held fast and the victim would win a wager. However, the con artist had arranged both loops in such a way that either loop came free from the stick, no matter which one the victim selected, and the victim forfeited his bet. (Variations of the game under different names continue to this day.) That's how the phrase “to play fast and loose,” meaning dishonest, came to be used by people who never played the “game.”
See also: and, fast, loose
References in periodicals archive ?
He says: "Fast And Loose is the ultimate team sport, with a group of fantastically clever character actors.
Thus some recruiters have chosen to play "fast and loose" by "hiding police records and medical histories of potential recruits," explained the Times.
The Caledonia bishop acknowledged that he wrestled with the issue of jurisdiction, he said, but believes that it is Anglicans with more liberal views of homosexuality who are "playing fast and loose with the canons of the church."
In THE 1980S, DURING THE Reagan-Bush I reign, a wave of conservative jurists rode to prominence on a searing critique of their predecessors: the judicial system--especially during the Earl Warren years--had become a playground for liberal, activist judges who played fast and loose with the text of the Constitution.
But it's clear now that Enron played a little fast and loose with its financial systems, and didn't feel obliged to clue in analysts about what it was doing.
Ask yourself if the subject of that piece was simply coloring within the lines set forth by HCFA or playing fast and loose with the rules.
In the United States, a fast and loose borrowing environment in the 1980's resulted in the bankruptcy of many developers and projects and the collapse of many lenders.
Fast And Loose might have been better termed Hit And Miss, Good And Bad or On And Off.
Continuing his late-career renaissance of historically urgent, politically engaged fiction filmmaking that began with 1999's "The Legend of Rita" and 2004's "The Ninth Day," German vet Volker Schloendorff stumbles slightly, but doesn't fall, with Poland-set Solidarity saga "Strike." Compromised by dicey dubbing of German thesps and charged with playing fast and loose with the facts by the real-life inspiration for the film, "Strike" is nevertheless an involving sit that will play strongly in fest and arthouse situations prior to decent DVD biz.
The title "Helter Skelter" played fast and loose with the grisly antics of the Manson Family, proffering an idea of LA radically opposed to the received iconography and narratives of vacuous hedonism and industry shenanigans.
Playing fast and loose with the reputations of seminaries is hardly helpful to readers or to the Christian community in general.
Instead of the Stockholder who once knew how to play fast and loose with her scavenged goods, we discover an academic who, literally, bolts everything in place and forfeits the appearance of spontaneity and accident that once served her art so well.
David Reed's paintings play fast and loose with the conventions of abstraction and representation--an exercise that could be very dull--but the luxurious, even brazen appeal of his seemingly flattened-out yet liquescent brushstrokes remains irresistibly seductive.
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