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[hel-fer-leth -er] /ˈhɛl fərˈlɛð ər/ Informal.
characterized by reckless determination or breakneck speed:
The sheriff led the posse in a hell-for-leather chase.
in a hell-for-leather manner; hellbent:
motorcycles roaring hell-for-leather down the turnpike.
Origin of hell-for-leather
First recorded in 1885-90 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hell-for-leather
Historical Examples
  • Another Maronite resented that, and killed a Druse; and they were all at it, hell-for-leather.

    The Wind Bloweth Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne
  • He wants to be a wicked, hell-for-leather fellow, but he hasn't got the stomach for it!

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • When Peggy's father died, Colling was going it hell-for-leather—just about as fast as they're made.

    A Butterfly on the Wheel Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • Turn in, Gadsby, and I'll bring Bingle back—ahem—'hell-for-leather.'

    Soldiers Three Rudyard Kipling
  • And there she was, galloping into that field, hell-for-leather, unwrapping her long-tailed whip as she came.

    Kildares of Storm Eleanor Mercein Kelly
  • In other words, life's like fox-hunting; choose your line, choose it slowly and carefully, then follow it 'hell-for-leather.'

Slang definitions & phrases for hell-for-leather



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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