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Lick & a promise

Posted by ESC on November 03, 2000

In Reply to: Origin of phrase posted by Wayne on November 03, 2000

: Does anyone here know the origin of the phrase "a lick and a promise"?

: The closest I came on this site was a sentence under origin that ended " a novel by?" which left my question hanging.

: Thanks.

I've heard this phrase used in connection with chores -- housework in particular. "I'm just giving this floor a lick and a promise." Meaning run a damp mop over it quickly with the promise or expectation of doing a more thorough cleaning later. The definition of "lick" in this case would be "hasty careless effort." (Merriam-Webster Dictionary.)