Also found in: Thesaurus.
as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb Once involved in a matter, one might as well commit one-self entirely and go the whole hog.
ball the jack SeeSPEEDING.
catch-as-catch-can Anything goes, no holds barred; everything is up for grabs, and any and all means for getting it are permitted; hence also, unplanned, unsystematic, hit-or-miss. The expression derives from a style of wrestling in which no restraints are placed on permissible holds. Antecedents of the phrase appeared in print as early as the 16th century:
Catch that catch may. (John Hey wood, Proverbs, 1562)
The expression may carry connotations of opportunism and unethical expediency, or simply of haphazardness and disorganization.
do it up brown To spare no pains or expense in an endeavor or undertaking; to go all out. According to the OED, to do brown ‘to do thoroughly’ may derive from roasting, since meat is brown when thoroughly cooked. Current use of this expression plays on an extended meaning of thorough—not just complete but more than complete, or all out, without scrimping or cutting corners.
go for broke To go all out, to do or die, to give one’s all. This recent U.S. slang expression refers to the gambler’s practice of betting all his money on one throw of the dice, thus risking instant impoverishment.
The enemy is “going all out—… he is going for broke.” (The Guardian, February, 1968)
go whole hog To engage in an activity completely and unreservedly. The most plausible origin for this expression stems from the British slang term hog ‘shilling’; thus, to go whole hog was to spend the whole shilling at once. Another explanation relates the phrase to the Muslim injunction against eating one unspecified part of the pig. The term gained popularity in the United States during Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in 1828 and gave rise to the noun whole-hogger ‘a die-hard political enthusiast.’
let her rip To allow or cause something such as an engine to go as fast as it can; to move ahead quickly, often violently or recklessly; to “open her up.” This expression is of uncertain origin, but it is likely that rip is adapted from its verbal sense of ‘to open up.’ One source suggests that the expression should be credited to a steamboat captain who, feeling protected by his newly acquired insurance, may have pushed his vessel’s engines to the limit saying, “Let her rip (i.e., it doesn’t matter if the engines explode), I’m insured!” Although it has further been suggested that rip may have been derived as a bit of cryptic humor from the gravestone epitaph, “R.I.P.” [rest in peace], this theory, like the other, seems somewhat implausible.
Why in the name of hell’s eternal flints don’t the engineer pitch in more pine knots and crack on more steam? Let her rip. (New Orleans Picayune, August, 1846)
no holds barred Without restrictions; anything goes. Although the precise origin of this expression is unknown, it would seem to come from the wrestling use of hold ‘grasp or grip.’ Consequently, a match in which no holds were barred (disallowed) would permit any and all of the numerous varieties of wrestling locks. The phrase appeared as early as 1952 in the Economist.
over shoes, over boots This phrase expresses reckless abandon in continuing a course of action already entered upon. The OED defines over shoes literally and figuratively as ‘deeply immersed or sunk [in something],’ and since boots are usually higher than shoes, over boots can only mean even more deeply involved in or committed to a certain course of action.
pull out all the stops To use every resource at one’s command; to avail one-self of any and all means at one’s disposal to achieve a desired end. Stops in this expression refers to the stop knobs on an organ console by means of which the player controls the sets of pipes.
shoot one’s bolt To make an all-out effort; to do all that one possibly can; to pull no punches; to shoot the works. This expression is derived from a 13th-century adage later stated by John Hey-wood in Proverbs (1546), and by William Shakespeare in Henry V (III,vii): “A fool’s bolt is soon shot.” A bolt is the missile shot from a crossbow, which, once fired, must be cranked up to produce the tension required for the next shot. Since this cranking takes time, the crossbowman was virtually defenseless during the operation. Therefore, a bolt was shot only after careful deliberation and at considerable risk. Although applied in various contexts, the expression is most popular among sports reporters.
The home players had shot their bolt, and in thirty minutes the Birmingham team added two goals. (Daily Express, February 28, 1901)
shoot one’s wad In gambling, to bet all of one’s money on the outcome of a single race, game, throw of the dice, etc.; in any endeavor, to make a final, all-out effort or a last-ditch, no-holds-barred attempt. Since a wad is a roll of money or a finite quantity of some valuable resource, to shoot one’s wad is to expend it all at one time in hopes of success, usually with the implication that a fairly substantial risk of failure or defeat is involved.
shoot the works To make an intense effort, utilizing all available resources; to go the limit; to gamble or spend all of one’s money; to tell all one knows about a given matter. This expression was probably first used by gamblers to describe a person’s betting all the money he had on a single throw of the dice. Though now used in many contexts, shoot the works still implies an endeavor in which no effort or expense is spared, and one which involves a certain degree of risk.
It is not my intention to shoot the whole works, but merely to examine a few specimens [of slang] and guess at their meaning. (American Speech, 1941)
the sky’s the limit A statement meaning that, in essence, there are no limits, often implying extravagance, lavish-ness, opulence, etc. This frequently used expression alludes to the concept of sky as a limitless, virtually infinite entity, and is derived from an earlier adage, “No limits but the sky,” which appeared in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Part I (1605). A related variation is the phrase to the sky or skies.
|Noun||1.||unrestraint - the quality of lacking restraint |
intemperance - the quality of being intemperate
abandon, unconstraint, wantonness - the trait of lacking restraint or control; reckless freedom from inhibition or worry; "she danced with abandon"
looseness - freedom from restraint; "the flexibility and looseness of the materials from which mythology is made"
sottishness - lack of restraint in use of alcohol