English idioms: to wing it (to improvise)

The meaning of wing it

In short, to wing it means to improvise or do something you haven’t prepared for. Here are some example sentences.

to wing it – example sentences

I didn’t have time to prepare this speech, so I’ll have to wing it.

She didn’t spend much time getting ready for the meeting; she just kind of winged it

I don’t have time to study for the test tomorrow, so I’ll be winging it

More context about to wing it for learners of English

To wing it is an idiom that means to do something without proper preparation or time to rehearse.

People often talk about winging it when they have to do something difficult that they didn’t have time to practice— like a make speech or give a presentation. They might say something like "Sorry if I seem a bit disorganized, I’m totally winging it."

You tell people that you’re winging it so that they won’t expect too much from you, or so that they will be more forgiving if you make a mistake.

Wing it – pronunciation
In rapid native-speaker speech, the final g on the i-n-g tends to disappear. So it sounds like

I’m wingin’ it
I’m wingin’ it here

Authentic example

Here is an authentic example from Seth Godin’s presentation at the GEL 2006 conference.

And I want to…talk about what I think seven of those reasons might be. But first I gotta take a minute…I gotta explain…I’ve never given this presentation before, not one word of it, not one picture, and I may never give it again. But I’m winging it so we’ll see what happens…But…what does it mean to be broken?

Look up examples of wing it in context

Look up to wing it in the dictionary.

See examples of how to wing it is used.