before you can say Jack Robinson
Also, quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. Almost immediately, very soon, as in I'll finish this book before you can say Jack Robinson. This expression originated in the 1700s, but the identity of Jack Robinson has been lost. Grose's Classical Dictionary (1785) said he was a man who paid such brief visits to acquaintances that there was scarcely time to announce his arrival before he had departed, but it gives no further documentation. A newer version is before you know it, meaning so soon that you don't have time to become aware of it (as in He'll be gone before you know it).
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Example sentences from the Web for before you can say Jack Robinson
Before anti-vaxxers, there were anti-fluoriders: a group who spread fear about the anti-tooth decay agent added to drinking water.
In secret, before the referendum, the council went ahead and fluoridated the water anyway.
Just the hard-on before you shoot unarmed members of the public.'Babylon' Review: The Dumb Lives of Trigger-Happy Cops|Melissa Leon|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Was there an investigation of people at DOJ before they arrived at that conclusion?Ex-CBS Reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s Battle Royale With the Feds|Lloyd Grove|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Between 25 and 30, you’re trying to decide how much longer before you start growing a beard and calling yourself ‘Daddy.Freaking Out About Age Gaps in Gay Relationships Is Homophobic|Samantha Allen|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
And he was gone, and out of sight on the swift galloping Benito, before Father Gaspara bethought himself.Ramona|Helen Hunt Jackson
Descending the Alps to the east or south into Piedmont, a new world lies around and before you.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
Before Ripperda could unclasp his lips to reply, the stranger had opened the door, and passed through it like a gliding shadow.
Louis stood firm, though pale and respectful, before the resentful gaze of Elizabeth.
Babylas raised his pale face; he knew what was coming; it had come so many times before.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini