October 25th, 2019

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Friday phrase: In a New York Minute

In a New York Minute

In a New York minute is an idiom with interesting origins. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the idiomatic phrase in a New York minute, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

In a New York minute means right away, immediately, quickly and without hesitation. As you may suppose, in a New York minute is an American idiom, but it did not originate in New York City. Rather, the expression in a New York minute is a reflection of how people in other parts of the United States view New York. Compared to many areas of the country, New York City life is extremely fast paced. The term in a New York minute was first recorded in the mid-twentieth century in Piney Woods, Texas, though exactly where in the Southern United States this phrase originated is unknown. Johnny Carson, a popular American entertainer of the 1980s described a New York minute as “the time it takes for the light in front of you to turn green and the guy behind you to honk his horn.” These observations of life in New York City are for the most part good-natured, and perhaps even carry a note of admiration.


Trump and Schumer’s goodwill could evaporate in a New York minute as the Senate turns next week to the GOP’s latest health care overhaul plan, an effort Schumer has called a “Frankenstein monster of a bill.” Schumer will be leading the Democratic charge to torpedo the Republicans’ last chance this year to make good on Trump’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. (USA Today)

If you want to bask in the glow of 70 minutes that flash by in a New York minute, spend some time with Kelli O’Hara. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Source: https://grammarist.com/idiom/in-a-new-york-minute/