wing it, to
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
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.
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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
tv. to improvise; to do something extemporaneously. Don’t worry. Just go out there and wing it.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
To improvise: I hadn't prepared for the interview, so I had to wing it.
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.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer