In like Flynn

In like Flynn an idiom that came into use in the twentieth century. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, 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 like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. 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; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom in like Flynn, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

In like Flynn means to be immediately successful or to have achieved acceptance. The idiom in like Flynn carries the connotation of being in a state where one will continue to find success. The expression in like Flynn came into use in the American army in the 1940s, though its origin is murky. Most believe it is somehow tied to the actor Errol Flynn, who always portrayed a successful swashbuckler in his movies. The fact that the word “in” and the name “Flynn” rhyme probably helped to make this phrase popular. Another small faction believes that the “Flynn” in in like Flynn refers to New York political boss Edward J. Flynn, whose candidates never lost. Both theories might be true. Perhaps men from New York entered the army during World War II using a local, colloquial phrase alluding to a political boss, but the phrase was picked up by others with the idea of invoking Errol Flynn.


By ‘good student’ that simply meant if you completed the assigned course work, participated in class (looked awake and alive), and made an effort – you were ‘in like Flynn.’ (The Suburban Times)

Calvert-Lewin is in like Flynn, the first to react to stab in the rebound as Randolph lay supine and his team-mates had a snooze. (The Telegraph)

He wanted to be ‘in Like Flynn,’ but he didn’t want to be ruined for it.” (Los Angeles Magazine)

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