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make haste

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Also, make it snappy. Hurry up, move or act quickly, as in If you don't make haste we'll be late, or Make it snappy, kids. The first expression was first recorded in Miles Coverdale's 1535 translation of the Bible (Psalms 39:13): “Make haste, O Lord, to help me.” The variant dates from the early 1900s and uses snappy in the sense of “resembling a sudden jerk.” The oxymoron make haste slowly, dating from the mid-1700s, is a translation of the Latin festina lente. It is used either ironically, to slow someone down (as in You'll do better if you make haste slowly), or to comment sarcastically on a lack of progress (as in So far the committee has been making haste slowly).

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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.

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