take a flyer

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take a flyer (third-person singular simple present takes a flyer, present participle taking a flyer, simple past took a flyer, past participle taken a flyer)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see take,‎ flyer.
  2. (idiomatic) To invest against odds.
    • 1906, O. Henry, Man About Town:
      The oldest girls are eagerly perusing the financial reports, for a certain young man remarked last Sunday night that he had taken a flyer in Q., X. & Z.
  3. (idiomatic) To make a choice with an uncertain outcome; to take a chance.
    • 1997, Edward Greenspon, "Following the Trail of Campaign '97", in The Canadian General Election of 1997 (eds. Alan Frizzell & Jon H. Pammett), Dundurn Press (1997), →ISBN, page 36:
      Many voters said that while they liked Reform, they remembered having taken a flyer on Bob Rae and the NDP, a gamble they had come to regret.
    • 2002, Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, Zondervan (2002), →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      In contrast, other leaders are almost totally risk-averse. They haven't taken a flyer in their adult life.
    • 2006, Dan Matthews & Marsha Collier, Starting a Business on eBay.co.uk for Dummies, John Wiley & Sons (2006), →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      If you have an auction with no bids and a counter that reads a high number, newbie bidders may be dissuaded from taking a flyer and bidding on your auction.
    • 2009, Lew Freedman & Dick Hoak, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Complete Illustrated History, MBI Publishing (2009), →ISBN, page 112:
      The Steelers essentially took a flyer on Brister since his track record consisted of one season leading a college team.