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Slang definitions & phrases for hell-bent-for-leather


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Rapidly and energetically; all-out, flat out: Frank and Pat had gone hell-for-leather over this territory

[1889+; origin unknown; perhaps related to British dialect phrases go hell for ladder, hell falladerly, hell faleero, and remaining mysterious even if so, although the leather would then be a very probable case of folk etymology with a vague sense of the leather involved in riding tack]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Historical Examples
  • But there are little meteors—very tiny ones—that come in, hell-bent-for-leather, at a shade less than the velocity of light.

    Hanging by a Thread Gordon Randall Garrett

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