play fast and loose


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play fast and loose (with someone or something)

To act recklessly, unreliably, irresponsibly, or thoughtlessly toward someone or something; to treat someone or something with a lack of respect or seriousness. I know these tabloids play fast and loose with the truth, but they're such a guilty pleasure of mine! I can assure you that I am not playing fast and loose with him; I intend to marry him some day. If you're going to play fast and loose, go work at another firm. That's not how we operate here.
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play fast and loose (with someone or something)

Fig. to act carelessly, thoughtlessly, and irresponsibly. I'm tired of your playing fast and loose with me. Leave me alone. Bob got fired for playing fast and loose with the company's money.
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play fast and loose

Be recklessly irresponsible, unreliable, or deceitful, as in This reporter is known for playing fast and loose with the facts. This term probably originated in a 16th-century game called "fast and loose," played at country fairs. A belt was doubled and held with the loop at table's edge, and the player had to catch the loop with a stick as the belt was unrolled-an impossible feat. The term was already used figuratively by the late 1500s, especially for trifling with someone's affections.
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play fast and loose

If someone plays fast and loose with something important, they treat it without care, respect or accuracy. The government is playing fast and loose with public spending. Several of the company's announcements have been exposed for playing fast and loose with the facts.
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play fast and loose

ignore your obligations; be unreliable.
Fast and loose was the name of an old fairground game, in which a punter was challenged to pin an intricately folded belt, garter, or other piece of material to a surface. The person running the game would inevitably show that the item had not been securely fastened or made ‘fast’, and so the punter would lose their money. The phrase came to be used to indicate inconstancy.
1996 Time Out The big MGM production typically plays fast and loose with the facts, so it's as much an action spectacular as a genuine historical chronicle.
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play fast and ˈloose (with somebody/something)

(old-fashioned) treat somebody/something in a way that shows that you feel no responsibility or respect for them: If he plays fast and loose with my daughter’s feelings, I’ll make sure he regrets it.
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play fast and loose

verb
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play fast and loose

To behave in a recklessly irresponsible or deceitful manner: played fast and loose with the facts.
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play fast and loose, to

To trifle with someone; to be unreliable and inconsistent. Several writers believe that this term, which dates from the sixteenth century, came from a cheating game called “fast and loose” that was played at fairs. A belt or strap was doubled and rolled up with the loop at the edge of a table. The customer had to catch the loop with a stick or skewer while the belt was unrolled, but it was so done that the feat was impossible. Shakespeare used the term figuratively in a number of plays, including Antony and Cleopatra (4.12): “Like a right gipsy, hath, at fast and loose, beguiled me to the very heart of loss.” Over the centuries, writers continued to use it for trifling with someone’s affections, as in Thackeray’s Lovel the Widower (1860): “She had played fast and loose with me.”
See also: and, fast, play