fly-by-night(redirected from fly-by-nights)
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Irresponsible (as if one is apt to flee unexpectedly). He struck me as a fly-by-night worker, so I was shocked when he came back the next day to finish the job.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. irresponsible; untrustworthy. (Alludes to a person who sneaks away secretly in the night.) The carpenter we hired was a fly-by-night worker who did a very bad job. You shouldn't deal with a fly-by-night merchant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
mod. undependable; dishonest. Sam seems like such a fly-by-night character.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
An unreliable or irresponsible individual, particularly one not to be trusted in business dealings. Originating in the late eighteenth century to describe a person who evades creditors by sneaking away at night, this expression is now used both as a noun and as an adjective. However, according to Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796), the term was also once a derogatory name for an old woman accused of being a witch (flying at night). Much later it became British slang for a prostitute (who worked mostly at night), and by extension, a prostitute’s vagina.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer