wing it

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Particularly: “Jonathon Green's "Newspeak" says it comes from actors pinning their scripts to the "wing flats" to have something to consult during the performance: is that right?”


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wing it (third-person singular simple present wings it, present participle winging it, simple past and past participle winged it)

  1. (idiomatic) To improvise; to make things up or figure things out as one goes; to perform with little or no preparation.
    I don't know their system, but I think I can wing it.
    I didn't study for today's test, so I'll have to wing it.
    • 2017 January 20, Annie Zaleski, “AFI sounds refreshed and rejuvenated on its 10th album, AFI (The Blood Album)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Plus, early in a career, bands are typically winging it from a creative standpoint; after awhile, acts figure out what they’re doing right (or wrong), and are more deliberate about songcraft and execution.
    • 2020 June 2, Rowena Mason, “Keir Starmer: 'Boris Johnson has to get a grip and restore public confidence'”, in The Guardian[2]:
      “My [worry] is that after a week or more of mismanagement, I’m deeply concerned the government has made a difficult situation 10 times worse ... There is a growing concern the government is now winging it,” he said.