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In a heartbeat

  • In a heartbeat is an idiom that has been in use for some amount of time. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beat around the bush, ballpark figure, let the cat out of the bag, hit the sack, Achilles heel, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, a dime a dozen, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the phrase in a heartbeat, when it appeared and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    In a heartbeat is an idiomatic expression that means right away, without hesitation, happening as soon as possible. The phrase in a heartbeat is often used when describing how quickly something can overcome someone without warning, such as a natural catastrophe. In a heartbeat is an expression that is often used to underscore how eager someone is to experience something or to accomplish something. Synonyms for the phrase in a heartbeat that may be found in a thesaurus are quickly, immediately, soon. The term in a heartbeat first appeared in the twentieth century, though its origin is murky. The popularity of the idiom rose steeply in the 1980s. Note that the word heartbeat is a closed compound word, which is composed of two words joined together without a space.

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    Examples

    The 45-year-old actress told Extra.com on Friday in NYC, that she would sign on in a heartbeat to work with her 38-year-old beau.  (The Daily Mail)

    Then, three years later, he was gone in a heartbeat. (The Epoch Times)

    While Hannah Brown has already started filming season 15 of the ABC dating spinoff, Scheana added that she would sign up to star as the series’ lead in the future “in a heartbeat.” (US Magazine)

    “If there were anything on that tape that would make our community or another community safer, we would release it in a heartbeat,” Manley said. (The Austin American-Statesman)


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