by the seat of (one's) pants

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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: by, of, pant, seat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*by the seat of one's pants

Fig. by sheer luck and use of intuition. (*Typically: fly ~; make it ~.) I got through school by the seat of my pants. Pilots who are in fog and using only instruments are flying by the seat of their pants.
See also: by, of, pant, seat
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

seat of the pants, by the

Using intuition and improvisation rather than method or experience, as in He ran the business by the seat of his pants. This expression was invented by World War II fliers, who used it to describe flying when instruments were not working or weather interfered with visibility. It was transferred to broader use soon after the war.
See also: by, of, seat
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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: by, of, pant, seat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(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: by, of, pant, seat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

seat

n. the buttocks. I was so angry. I wanted to kick him in the seat as he left.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

by the seat of (one's) pants

Informal
1. In a manner based on intuition and experience rather than method: He ran the business by the seat of his pants.
2. Without the use of instruments: an inexperienced pilot who had to fly the aircraft by the seat of her pants.
See also: by, of, pant, seat
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the seat of one's pants

By using intuition or improvising. The term comes from World War II, when aviators used it to describe flying when instruments did not work or visibility was poor. After the war it quickly came into more general use, as in “Use a score? No, I just conducted the overture by the seat of my pants.”
See also: by, of, pant, seat
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Asked at the MCA Pub Conference last year whether the group's pricing is scientific, chairman Tim Martin said: "No, it's not - I just fly by the seat of my pants."
She said: "I am operating on a shoestring and I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I am now ready to get this show on the road.
I'm no fashion renegade, I don't fly through life by the seat of my pants, I would even go as far as to say I'm predictable - my winter colour palette consists of black, navy and charcoal but forward-planning specifics, for me, takes away the fun.
"I'm flying by the seat of my pants, I was told by one of my officials this morning, quite gracefully," Mrs Beckett said.
By the Seat of My Pants, the result of a Lonely Planet competition, includes more than 30 humorous travel tales.
Well, "something came up" and they didn't show up, so I was stuck with teaching it, trying to fly by the seat of my pants. I have to admit it was poetic justice on several levels: I had dumped the evangelizing of a new trailer park on my parish assistant, Curt Miller, who was helping me in my rural congregation.
I have been looking through an advanced copy of this year's offering - By The Seat Of My Pants: Humorous Tales Of Travel & Misadventure, edited by Don George.
I was drawn instead to the artists who at the time seemed to represent a counterformalism for which I coined the term "post-Minimalism," a bit of journalistic legerdemain that briefly passed for a catchphrase, upon which I sailed by the seat of my pants till "post-Modern" left it in the dust.
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