trice

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in a flash

Immediately; very quickly; at once. Just call us on this number if you have any problems, and we'll be back in a flash. Don't worry, boss, I'll have this report typed up in a flash!
See also: flash

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 a flash

Fig. quickly; immediately. I'll be there in a flash. It happened in a flash. Suddenly my wallet was gone.
See also: flash

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 a flash

Also, in a jiffy or second or trice . Quickly, immediately. For example, I'll be with you in a flash, or He said he'd be done in a jiffy, or I'll be off the phone in a second, or I felt a drop or two, and in a trice there was a downpour. The first idiom alludes to a flash of lightning and dates from about 1800. The word jiffy, meaning "a short time," is of uncertain origin and dates from the late 1700s (as does the idiom using it); a second, literally one-sixtieth of a minute, has been used vaguely to mean "a very short time" since the early 1800s; and trice originally meant "a single pull at something" and has been used figuratively since the 1500s.
See also: flash

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 a ˈtrice

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

in a flash

mod. right away; immediately. (see also flash.) Get over here in a flash, or else.
See also: flash

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