Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Play it by ear

(Originally posted March 30, 2006)

Definition: adapt to the circumstances, extemporize

A: "Do you have any idea what to do next?"
B: "No, I'll just have to play it by ear."

Similar Sayings/Idioms:
We'll "make it up as we go (along)"
We'll "fly by the seat of our pants"

Origin: This expression is from music. Some musicians are so gifted, they can play a song just by listening to it once. Thus, they are "playing it by ear".

Chinese equivalent: 看著辦﹖ (any one got suggestions?)

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