Robinson

(redirected from Robinson Edwin Arlington)
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faster than you can say Jack Robinson

Extremely quickly; almost immediately; suddenly or in a very short space of time. Once I'm finished with high school, I'll be outta this two-bit town faster than you can say Jack Robinson! I was out fishing one day when, faster than you can say Jack Robinson, a 20-pound trout jumped out of the water and right into my lap!
See also: can, faster, jack, Robinson, say

quicker than you can say Jack Robinson

Extremely quickly; almost immediately; suddenly or in a very short space of time. Once I'm finished with high school, I'll be outta this two-bit town quicker than you can say Jack Robinson! I was out fishing one day when, quicker than you can say Jack Robinson, a 20-pound trout jumped out of the water and right into my lap!
See also: can, jack, quicker, Robinson, say

before (one) can say Jack Robinson

Quickly or suddenly. (The true identity of Jack Robinson is unknown.) I'm not far from your house, so I'll be there before you can say Jack Robinson.
See also: before, can, jack, Robinson, say

Heath Robinson

Describing an unnecessarily complicated machine used for a simple task. Similar to "Rube Goldberg." Heath Robinson was an English illustrator known for drawing such contraptions. Primarily heard in UK. I just love these silly Heath Robinson contraptions—it takes imagination to design something so complicated!
See also: Robinson

before you can say Jack Robinson

 and quicker than you can say Jack Robinson
Fig. almost immediately. (Often found in children's stories.) And before you could say Jack Robinson, the bird flew away. I'll catch a plane and be there quicker than you can say Jack Robinson.
See also: before, can, jack, Robinson, say

before you can say Jack Robinson

Also, quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. Almost immediately, very soon, as in I'll finish this book before you can say Jack Robinson. This expression originated in the 1700s, but the identity of Jack Robinson has been lost. Grose's Classical Dictionary (1785) said he was a man who paid such brief visits to acquaintances that there was scarcely time to announce his arrival before he had departed, but it gives no further documentation. A newer version is before you know it, meaning so soon that you don't have time to become aware of it (as in He'll be gone before you know it).
See also: before, can, jack, Robinson, say

before you could say Jack Robinson

OLD-FASHIONED
COMMON If you say that something happened before you could say Jack Robinson, you mean it happened very suddenly and quickly. The pair of them were out of the door and down the steps before you could say Jack Robinson. Note: People sometimes change Jack Robinson to a word or expression that relates to the subject they are talking about. She was on the phone to New York before you could say long-distance. Note: The identity of Jack Robinson is unknown and the name might have become popular because both elements were once extremely common. The phrase appears in the novel `Evelina' (1778) by Fanny Burney: `I'll do it as soon as say Jack Robinson'.
See also: before, could, jack, Robinson, say

before you can say Jack Robinson

very quickly or suddenly. informal
This expression was in use in the late 18th century, but neither an early 19th-century popular song about Jack Robinson nor some mid 19th-century attempts to identify the eponymous Jack Robinson shed any light on its origins.
See also: before, can, jack, Robinson, say

before you can say Jack ˈRobinson

(old-fashioned) very quickly or suddenly: I’ll do that for you. I’ll have it finished before you can say Jack Robinson.
See also: before, can, jack, Robinson, say