hurry up and wait


Move quickly and then have to wait for something or someone. For example, We did our share in good time, but the others were several days behind so we couldn't finish—it was another case of hurry up and wait. This expression dates from the 1940s and probably originated in the armed services.

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