wing » whim

Chiefly in:   on a whim and a prayer

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • It does nothing to change the impression of a club stumbling along on a whim and a prayer. (The Daily Mail, May 25, 2004, quoted by Quinion)
  • This Government went to war on a whim and a prayer. (The Guardian, July 7, 2003)
  • She has ditched Kiefer Sutherland at the altar; married Lyle Lovett on a whim and a prayer; been linked with dishy actors like Jason Patric and Daniel Day-Lewis. (CNN/Time, Sep. 17, 2001)
  • On a whim and a prayer, Webb-Waring Institute volunteer Amy Slothower wrote to Eggers last year, asking him to read and talk to a group of Denver deep-pockets to raise money for the cancer research center. (Denver Post, Mar. 18, 2001)

Analyzed or reported by:

Perhaps better classified as an idiom blend, combining “on a whim” with “on a wing and a prayer.”

(Another idiom blend involving _whim_ is the Bushism “at the whim of a hat,” combining “at a whim” with “at the drop of a hat.” But this is even further from true eggcorn status, as there is no phonetic similarity between _whim_ and _drop_.)

See also on _a wink and a prayer_.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/16 |

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