idioms about wings

From the stage to the sky: idioms about wings

posted in: English language | 0

Inspired by jargon

A new blog post is often inspired by a word or phrase that I come across when working. Recently, I was proofreading a business report when I encountered a new (to me) bit of jargon describing an employee as ‘wing to wing’ in a number of fields of the company’s business. In this context it was fairly easy to decipher that their skills and ability fully encompassed the required areas. Never one to turn down the opportunity for distraction or, as I prefer to describe it, expand my knowledge, this led me to wondering how many phrases and idioms I could find using the word ‘wing’. After a bit of internet research, the answer was quite a lot!

Ten phrases and idioms using the word wing

Wing to wing – fully encompassing or the full range. I have also seen this phrase used in relation to aircraft formation flying
In the wings – the side of a theatre stage not visible to the audience
Wing it – an informal phrase meaning to improvise or do something without preparation, according to OED this originates in the theatre where it meant playing a role without fully learning the lines and having to rely on a prompt in the wings
Waiting in the wings – being ready to do something, again this phrase has a theatrical origin referring to an understudy who would be waiting unseen at the side of the stage
Winging its way – something travelling quickly, probably derived from flying as a speedier form of transport than land travel
On a wing and a prayer – to do something with only a slight chance of success. This phrase originated in the Second World War and referred to Allied pilots returning to base in damaged aircraft, hoping and praying that they would land safely
Wingman – in an informal context, a wingman is someone who helps a friend approach potential (romantic) partners. The phrase originates with fighter jet squadrons where the team leader has a wingman to provide support or protection
Spread one’s wings – extend or start new interests and activities. Perhaps this refers to young chicks in the nest practising flapping and stretching their wings before flying for the first time
Take under one’s wings – give protective care to someone or something. This phrase comes from a mother bird sheltering her chicks under her wing
Earning their wings – Refers to a pilot achieving a qualification to fly a plane. Derived from the pilot’s badge which is in the form of a pair of wings

Any more unusual wing idioms?

These are just ten phrases and idioms involving wings. If you’ve come across any more unusual ones leave me a comment, either on the blog, Facebook or Twitter.

idioms about wings
Spreading your wings
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