from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Unreliable or unscrupulous, especially with regard to business dealings: "fly-by-night telephone companies that open up shop, sell some systems, then disappear when service is needed” ( Mary Ellen Jordan).
- adj. Of an impermanent or insubstantial nature: fly-by-night fashions in clothing.
- n. An unscrupulous or undependable person, especially one who leaves secretly without paying creditors.
- n. Something of a shaky or impermanent nature.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A creature which flies at night; a nocturnal flier or traveler.
- n. One who departs or flees at night in order to avoid creditors, law enforcement etc. (often used attributively).
- n. A person or business that appears and disappears rapidly, or gives an impression of transience.
- n. A traveling businessman or tradesman.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A jib set like a studding-sail; a squaresail set on some sloops when running before the wind.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a debtor who flees to avoid paying
- adj. (of businesses and businessmen) unscrupulous
- adj. ephemeral
Sorry, no etymologies found.
In five essays loosely stitched together, Mr. Deb encounters, among others, a fly-by-night business-school operator in Delhi and a software engineer in Bangalore, impoverished peasants and factory workers in Andhra Pradesh, and a waitress at one of Delhi's upscale new restaurants.
Inside the FA, lots of progressive folk battle against entrenched empire builders whose reluctance to cede power makes Hosni Mubarak look like a fly-by-night.
"This is necessary in order to avoid fly-by-night, reckless and excitable flexing of muscles and decisions that overlook certain fundamentals that could irreparably harm the nerve-center of our recovering economy."
Incidentally, Stritch is the kind of fastidious arranger who knows enough to forget about reprising as many familiar and unfamiliar songs as possible, many of them stuffed into fly-by-night medleys.
Apple is more than just pretty hardware and a fly-by-night company that builds products for one quarter in advance.
And for all of the fuss over "no excuses" and "accountability," permission is willingly granted for fly-by-night organizations to slap a few bricks onto a side of a building and call it a school.
He told me it wasn't just a fly-by-night romance, but a long-term relationship.
It's a sad sign of the recession when more and more fly-by-night Halloween superstore pop up to fill failed businesses in empty shells of long-term for-lease buildings.
Defense attorneys claim Georgia's supply came from a fly-by-night British supplier.
Federal regulators have long recognized the dangers of fly-by-night bus companies that skimp on safety and skirt the regulations.
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