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Bat out of Hell

Posted by Li Yar on September 26, 2003

In Reply to: Origin of posted by joelenne on September 26, 2003

:
: ok, so I hear my dad say it alot. "that woman is driving like a bat out of hell." maybe it is a phrase that is not familiar to my generation, I have found that it definatly means driving fast and reckless, but where did it ever originate? If anyone has any ideas or knows, I would love to find out for myself and my english class. Thank you!

Meatloaf originated the expression in 1976 or thereabouts with the mid-70s Zeitgeist eponymous album "Bat Out of Hell". He never saw the sudden curve 'til way too late..

Alternatively, and truthfully - the expression 'like a bat out of hell' has been in common UK-English usage for decades meaning to fly, usually figuratively. Since Jacobean times at least, bats have been associated with witches and the occult - and therefore thought to originate in the bowels of hell - as they fly and fly quickly as if in panic - to make the comparison with a bat flying out of hell for anything going recklessly fast would seem quite natural and likely to be a country idiom prior to being recorded in print. The problem with origins of this sort is that country expressions would often be ignored as those who had education and could write would often prefer to use 'educated' words of l@tinate or classic origin as opposed to seeming country bumpkins.