lick and a promise, a

a lick and a promise

1. The act of cleaning something hurriedly and carelessly. Often used with the verb "give," as in "give (something) a lick and promise." Just give those shelves a lick and a promise because Grandma will be here any minute!
2. The act of doing something hurriedly and carelessly in order to get it done quickly and perhaps before a certain deadline. I told the interns to just give that mailing a lick and a promise because we were supposed to get it out weeks ago.
See also: and, lick, promise

lick and a promise

A hasty, superficial, or careless effort. I told the intern to give the proofreading a lick and a promise, as we were supposed to have the book out weeks ago. I didn't have time to clean the entire house before my parents arrived, so I just did it with a lick and a promise.
See also: and, lick, promise
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*lick and a promise

Fig. a hasty bit of work; a quick once-over. (*Typically: finish something with ~; give something ~.) I was pressed for time, so I just gave the housework a lick and a promise. Mary spent so much time on her history paper that she had to finish her math homework with a lick and a promise.
See also: and, lick, promise
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lick and a promise, a

A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm. For example, I haven't time to do a good job of vacuuming, just enough for a lick and a promise. This expression is believed to allude to the quick lick a cat or other animal might give itself and a promise to do more or better at some future time. [Mid-1800s]
See also: and, lick
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.

a lick and a promise

INFORMAL
If you give something a lick and a promise, you clean it very quickly and not very well, but intend to do it more thoroughly later. There was only time in the morning for a lick and a promise. I just gave the kitchen floor a lick and a promise. Note: This expression is sometimes used for other tasks that are done quickly. Whatever they do now, if it's kind of a lick and a promise, then it's putting off the day they're going to have to deal with it.
See also: and, lick, promise
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a lick and a promise

a hasty performance of a task, especially of cleaning something. informal
2001 Andrew O'Hare Green Eyes Trying to scrub my teeth was just as disastrous as before, washing the face was no more than a lick and a promise but it would have to do.
See also: and, lick, promise
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a lick and a promise

n. a very casual treatment. A lick and a promise isn’t enough. Take some time and do it right.
See also: and, lick, promise
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

lick and a promise

A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm.
See also: and, lick, promise
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lick and a promise, a

A superficial cleaning; a hasty, perfunctory performance. The term, in which the promise is to do a better job sometime later, possibly alludes to the quick lick a cat might give itself. It dates from the nineteenth century. The OED cites W. White’s All Round the Wrekin (1860): “We only give the cheap ones a lick and a promise.” See also hit the high spots.
See also: and, lick
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

lick and a promise

A superficial effort. Rather than wash themselves thoroughly to their parents' satisfaction, youngsters who were in a rush would splash on a little water and say they'd do a better job later. The phrase was extended to apply to any fast and incomplete job.
See also: and, lick, promise
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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