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To do or attempt something with little preparation in advance; to improvise. Oh man, I totally forgot that I'm supposed to do this presentation today—I'll just have to wing it.
to improvise; to do something extemporaneously. I lost my lecture notes, so I had to wing it. Don't worry. Just go out there and wing it.
Improvise, as in The interviewer had not read the author's book; he was just winging it. This expression comes from the theater, where it alludes to an actor studying his part in the wings (the areas to either side of the stage) because he has been suddenly called on to replace another. First recorded in 1885, it eventually was extended to other kinds of improvisation based on unpreparedness.
ˈwing it(informal) do something without planning or preparing it first; improvise: I didn’t know I’d have to make a speech — I just had to wing it.
tv. to improvise; to do something extemporaneously. Don’t worry. Just go out there and wing it.
To improvise: I hadn't prepared for the interview, so I had to wing it.
wing it, to
To improvise. This aeronautical-sounding cliché comes from the nineteenth-century theater, where it originally meant to study one’s part while standing in the wings because one has been called to replace an actor or actress on short notice. It soon was extended to mean improvisation of any kind. Thus Publishers Weekly (1971) used it to describe talk-show hosts interviewing authors whose books they had not read: “They can talk about the book, kind of winging it based on the ads.”