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October 31, 2016

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D

Oh, I do like 'witches' knickers'!

Kevin Flynn

Re: fly by night.

I can see that that first OED citation is a reference to witches' traditional mode of travel, but for me the idea behind the notion of "fly-by-night" traders is a different one. In my own mind it's connected to the idea of the "moonlight flit" -- originally referring, I believe, to the practice of scarpering from rented accommodation (under cover of darkness, and usually together with some or all of the furniture) before the landlord has been paid.

From there (the dishonest tenant) to the fraudulent business, where you pay your money in on one day and then turn up for your goods on the next, only to find an empty shop, the trader having done a vanishing tick in the middle of the night.

Kevin Flynn

...vanishing trick... (as performed there by the r in my original post)

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