play fast and loose

Idioms & Phrases

play fast and loose

Be recklessly irresponsible, unreliable, or deceitful, as in This reporter is known for playing fast and loose with the facts. This term probably originated in a 16th-century game called "fast and loose," played at country fairs. A belt was doubled and held with the loop at table's edge, and the player had to catch the loop with a stick as the belt was unrolledan impossible feat. The term was already used figuratively by the late 1500s, especially for trifling with someone's affections.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: play false
Next Definition: play footsie
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for play fast and loose
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing play fast and loose
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature