in two shakes of a lamb's tail


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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.
See also: trice

in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

Very quickly. If you don't get down here in two shakes, I'm going to tell your supervisor about this. Don't worry, I'll pick you up in two shakes of a lamb's tail!
See also: shake, two

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

Fig. in a very short time; very quickly. Jane returned in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Mike was able to solve the problem in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
See also: of, shake, tail, two

in two shakes

Also, in two shakes of a lamb's tail Very quickly, very soon, as in I'll be with you in two shakes, or She'll be finished in two shakes of a lamb's tail. The longer idiom alludes to the friskiness of lambs; the shorter one may be an abbreviation of the longer one, or it may refer to the shaking of dice or any two quick movements. [Early 1800s]
See also: shake, two

in two shakes

or

in two shakes of a lamb's tail

OLD-FASHIONED, SPOKEN
If you say that you will do something in two shakes or in two shakes of a lamb's tail, you mean that you will do it very soon or very quickly. I'm just going out to the shop — I'll be back in two shakes. Supper will be ready in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
See also: shake, two

in a trice

in 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’.
See also: trice

in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

very quickly.
See also: shake, two

in a ˈtrice

very quickly or suddenly: He was gone in a trice.
See also: trice

in two ˈshakes

,

in a couple of ˈshakes

(also in two ˌshakes of a ˈlamb’s tail old-fashioned) (informal) very soon: I’ve just got to make a phone call. I’ll be with you in two shakes.
See also: shake, two

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.
See also: of, shake, tail, two