Posted by TheFallen on September 24, 2003
In Reply to: Fly by the seat of your pants posted by Sax on September 24, 2003
: Hi. I had the flu and missed a word of the day, so today I had two of them. Can you please tell me the meaning and origin of this one, too? Thanx, Sax.
I'm unaware of origin, but the phrase means to embark upon a risky course of action without any preparation - "Tom got drunk the night before his big presentation to the board and didn't prepare a thing, so had to fly by the seat of his pants."
It may well be from WW1 or 2 air force slang - in the UK we have a similar expression, "to wing it", that means much the same thing.