in a trice
in a trice
At once; nearly immediately or very quickly or suddenly. Our storewide sale will only be available as supplies last, so be sure to hurry—these deals are going to be gone in a trice! When faced with the need to save costs, the management decided the fates of lower-level workers in a trice, without any serious deliberation.
in a tricein a moment; very quickly.
In late Middle English, at a trice meant ‘at one pull or tug’, and it soon developed the figurative meaning of ‘in a moment, immediately’. By the late 17th century the original form of the expression had given way to the more familiar in a trice. Trice itself comes from a Middle Dutch verb meaning ‘hoist’.
in a ˈtricevery quickly or suddenly: He was gone in a trice.
in two shakes of a lamb's tail
Instantly, very quickly. Lambs surely were known to be frisky creatures long before, but this expression, often shortened to in two shakes, dates only from the early nineteenth century and originated in America. Mark Twain changed it in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) to “three shakes of a sheep’s tail,” suggesting it was already very well known by the late nineteenth century. A similar cliché, in a trice, which came from a now obsolete word meaning to pull on a rope and alluded to a single pull, is rarely heard today but was extremely common from the eighteenth century on.