play fast and loose, to

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fast and loose

Describing actions that are reckless, unreliable, irresponsible, or thoughtless. 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.
See also: and, fast, loose
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: and, fast, loose, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
See also: and, fast, loose, play
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.

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.
See also: and, fast, loose, play
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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.
See also: and, fast, loose, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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.
See also: and, fast, loose, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play fast and loose

verb
See also: and, fast, loose, play
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

play fast and loose

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

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

fast and loose

Not straightforward or honest. “Fast and Loose” was the medieval equivalent of the kind of con game now found in such scams as Three Card Monte. It involved two intricately arranged cloth straps. The victim was invited to choose one loop to place a stick through, and when the loop was pulled tight, the stick would be held fast and the victim would win a wager. However, the con artist had arranged both loops in such a way that either loop came free from the stick, no matter which one the victim selected, and the victim forfeited his bet. (Variations of the game under different names continue to this day.) That's how the phrase “to play fast and loose,” meaning dishonest, came to be used by people who never played the “game.”
See also: and, fast, loose
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
Instead of the Stockholder who once knew how to play fast and loose with her scavenged goods, we discover an academic who, literally, bolts everything in place and forfeits the appearance of spontaneity and accident that once served her art so well.
For in spite of a willingness to play fast and loose with the law or to get their hands dirty walking around in some pretty messy moral ambiguities, these wisecracking investigators seek to hold fast to some inner sense of right and wrong, some personal code of ethics.
It's another thing when a couple of white guys think they've got equal rights to play fast and loose with "black" representations.