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seat of the pants, by the

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Using intuition and improvisation rather than method or experience, as in He ran the business by the seat of his pants. This expression was invented by World War II fliers, who used it to describe flying when instruments were not working or weather interfered with visibility. It was transferred to broader use soon after the war.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON PARENTHESES AND BRACKETS APLENTY!

Set some time apart to test your bracket symbol knowledge, and see if you can keep your parentheses, squares, curlies, and angles all straight!
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Let’s start with some etymology: What are the origins of the typographical word “bracket”?

Words nearby seat of the pants, by the

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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