fast and loose

described as "a cheating game played with a stick and a belt or string, so arranged that a spectator would think he could make the latter fast by placing a stick through its intricate folds, whereas the operator could detach it at once." [James O. Halliwell, "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words," 1847]. The figurative sense (1550s) is recorded earlier than the literal (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Related Words for fast and loose

reckless, uncontrolled, undisciplined, unrestrained

Examples from the Web for fast and loose

Historical Examples of fast and loose


Idioms and Phrases with fast and loose

fast and loose

see play fast and loose.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.