hurry up and wait

[hur-ee uhp n weyt]

What does hurry up and wait mean?

"Hustle up, we need to be at the concert venue in 20 minutes...so that we can wait another hour for the music to start."

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Hurry up and wait humorously describes a situation where you are rushing to get somewhere on time, only to have to wait around once you get there.

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Examples of hurry up and wait

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Examples of hurry up and wait
Rushes to find parking and get to class on time just for the teacher to be 30+ minutes late.... “Hurry up and wait” 🙃 🙄
@ivanroundtree25, January 2019
The process of filmmaking is often described as "hurry up and wait." For "Incredibles 2," it was "wait a really long time, then hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!"
Brad Bird quoted by Michael Ordona, The Los Angeles Times, December 2018
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Where does hurry up and wait come from?

Outofregs.com / Pinterest

Although its exact origin is unknown, the phrase hurry up and wait is believed to have originated in the American military. The phrase appears as early as 1946, as the title of a book written by Margaret Buell Wilder about a fictional war widow.

Playing off the irony of rushing (hurry up) only to have to idle (wait), hurry up and wait became popular with World War II military personnel, who got used to urgently rushing somewhere only to have to await further orders upon arrival.

Since the 1940s, hurry up and wait increased in usage among military personnel to the point of becoming a cliché. The phrase was commonplace enough by the 1950s that it was used as the title of an army marching song, and in 1963 it even appears anecdotally in a report published by the FBI regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

These days the phrase is used to describe any sort of hurry up and wait situation, military or otherwise.

Who uses hurry up and wait?

Of course, hurry up and wait is still a very common phrase among the armed forces.

Over time, hurry up and wait spread from the military to the general public. It is a useful phrase to describe urgent trips to places with notoriously long waits, like the DMV or the doctor’s office.

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