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hell-for-leather adv

Also hell-bent for leather[Engl dial; cf EDD (at hell sb. 1. (9))]scattered, but esp West

At top speed, in great haste.

  • 1919 DN 5.76 wMA, Hell bent for leather is the expression to which I am most used.
  • 1939 (1973) FWP Guide Montana 414, Hell-for-leather—In great haste. “Ridin’ hell-for-leather” suggests very hard use of leather (i.e., whip).
  • 1939 in 1984 Lambert–Franks Voices 46 OK, Many a time I’ve seen a bunch of bandits come riding hell-for-leather past the camp, the Regulars (the soldiers) pounding along right behind.
  • 1940 (1942) Clark Ox-Bow 81 NV, I saw that kid Greene, from down to Drew’s, come by here hell-for-leather half an hour ago.
  • 1950 WELS (To run very fast, especially running away from something) 1 Inf, seWI, Run hell-for-leather.
  • 1954 Forbes Rainbow 181 NEng, “He’s coming so Hell-for-leather,” says Jude, “he may shoot right by us.”
  • 1968 Adams Western Words 145, Hell-for-leather.
  • 1988 DARE File , My Dad, who grew up in Idaho, uses the term “hell-for-leather”; I was surprised when his cousin, who is from Nebraska, said he knew it as “hell-for-election.”