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

*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

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

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

(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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
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 like to just wing it, go by the seat of my pants and really try different things - sing a standard like it's an opera piece,'' she says.
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.
Honest, I really went by the seat of my pants, and it ended up that 90 percent of my orders were for the nursery collection.
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