by the seat of the pants

by the seat of the pants

Based on intuition or improvisation, without a clear plan or direction. Used especially in the phrase "fly by the seat of the pants." I know my parents think that I'm flying by the seat of the pants ever since I dropped out of college, but I just signed with a record label and am launching my singing career! After he said he wanted to build a wall through the middle of our back yard, it became clear that the architect was just flying by the seat of the pants.
See also: by, of, pant, seat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.

seat of one's/the pants, by the

Using experience, guesswork, or instinct rather than some calculated or scientific method. The term originated among World War II aviators, who so described flying when instruments were not working and/or weather interfered with visibility. It was transferred to other activities in subsequent decades. M. Walker used it in The National Front (1977): “Mussolini had governed by the seat of his pants.”
See also: by, of, seat
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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