Wing it is a phrase, and it refers to the act of doing something spontaneously, with no preparation.
It can be a situation where you go travel with no real plans and you just Wing it when you get to your destination, living in the moment.
It’s also often used in the theatre society, referring to an actor having to improvise, or learn their phrases in an impromptu manner.
If you forgot that you have an exam today, but decide to take it anyway without having studied for it, you are Winging it.
There are multiple theories of where the phrase originates from, but the most likely one is that it comes from a frequently occurring situation in the theatre, where the actor had to rush through their lines while waiting in the “wings” – the curtains on the side of the stage.
“To wing” was first defined with a similar description in Stage Magazine in 1885.
Spread and Usage
Apart from the theatre community, the slang is used by millennials and Gen Z when referring to doing something spontaneously.
In the 2014 “The LEGO Movie”, LEGO Batman says “We’ll wing it… That’s a bat pun.”, increasing the modern popularity of the phrase.
- Urban Dictionary – Wing it