ride hell-bent for leather(redirected from they rode hell-bent for leather)
ride hell-bent for leather
To ride (something, especially a horse) as fast as possible. The notorious thief leapt onto his horse with the stolen diamonds and rode hell-bent for leather toward the hills. Riding hell-bent for leather like that on your motorcycle is going to get you killed one of these days.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
ride hell (bent) for leather, to
To move as fast as possible. Hell in this expression dates from the nineteenth century and simply implies very fast (as in “to go like hell”); the origin of leather, however, is no longer known. The most common citation is Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Shillin’ a Day” (1892): “When we rode Hell-for-leather, Both squadrons together.” The variant, hellbent, means stubbornly determined (or “bent on going to hell”) as well as very fast, and is an early nineteenth-century Americanism. Sue MacVeigh used it in her 1940 murder mystery, Streamlined Murder: “It was going hell-bent for election.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer