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What is 'a lick and a promise'?



 
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the Philippines. | What does this phrase mean: "in good time"?
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What is 'a lick and a promise'? #1 (permalink) Wed Aug 04, 2010 18:58 pm   What is 'a lick and a promise'?
 

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #296 "English Slang Idioms (18)", question 8

He knew the new guy had given his second assignment a mere lick and a .......... It was thrown together and about only two-thirds finished when he turned it in.

(a) stamp
(b) wave
(c) promise
(d) kiss

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #296 "English Slang Idioms (18)", answer 8

He knew the new guy had given his second assignment a mere lick and a promise. It was thrown together and about only two-thirds finished when he turned it in.

Correct answer: (c) promise
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a mere lick and a promise?
Licky
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What is 'a lick and a promise'? #2 (permalink) Wed Aug 04, 2010 19:36 pm   What is 'a lick and a promise'?
 

'a lick and a promise' is a phrase which indicates that a superficial effort has been made without care or enthusiasm.

It originally alluded to perfunctory washing, particularly of children:
As a young child, my mother would frequently give me 'a lick and a promise' in the middle of the day - this meant she would give my face and hands a quick wash, just to make sure I was presentable.
The 'lick' was the quick wash then.
The 'promise' was that I'd be bathed more thoroughly later that day.

This expression is believed to be comparable to the quick lick a cat or other animal might give itself and a promise to do more or better at some future time.
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What is 'a lick and a promise'? #3 (permalink) Sun Feb 06, 2011 15:22 pm   What is 'a lick and a promise'?
 

Hi BZ,

We can say this about a " hasty bit of work" ?/ or a sham? /or when somebody do something just anyhow ?
Kati
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What is 'a lick and a promise'? #4 (permalink) Sun Feb 06, 2011 15:32 pm   What is 'a lick and a promise'?
 

Hello Kati,

Generally, the term can refer to something done with hastiness or carelessness, though it does not usually means something is a sham.
Did you have a specific example in mind?
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What is 'a lick and a promise'? #5 (permalink) Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:56 am   What is 'a lick and a promise'?
 

Hi Bz,

To add "sham "- it was my error. I thought the sentence that : "His friendship was a mere sham: what he really wanted was my relationship." But this isn't good here. You are right. It means that he tried to deceive me. It is clear.
Thanks:
Kati
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Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
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Joined: 26 Nov 2009
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Location: Hungary

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