What Does "Hell for Leather" Mean?

N. Madison

"Hell for leather" is an idiom, which is a phrase used in a figurative manner. This phrase is usually used to indicate that someone or something is traveling at an extremely fast speed. For example, a person who thinks he has a chance of missing his flight may rush toward the airport, often in a reckless manner. In such a case, a person may describe him as bound hell for leather for his flight. Another way to say this is that the person is traveling to the airport at breakneck speed.

Someone cited for speeding might be said to have been driving "hell for leather."
Someone cited for speeding might be said to have been driving "hell for leather."

One of the things that makes language so interesting is the fact that there are so many different ways to say things. It is rare that a person can only use one specific word or phrase to express himself, as there are usually multiple ways to say something in a literal fashion. Sometimes, however, an individual wants a more exciting or fun way to make a statement, or he may even want a dramatic way of expressing himself. In such a case, he may use an idiom to make his point. The idiom "hell for leather," which means at a very fast speed, is one example of this type of usage.

When trying to understand the meanings of idioms such as "hell for leather," it is important to keep in mind that they are not meant to be taken literally. If a person tries to translate this or other idioms literally, he is very likely to become confused. This is due to the fact that the literal meanings of such phrases usually do not make sense or do not make sense in the context in which they are used. For example, the literal translation of hell is a place where people are tormented or punished while leather is animal skin that has had its hair removed and been tanned. If one translates this idiom literally, it would mean a place in which leather was tormented or punished.

A person who is unfamiliar with the idiom "hell for leather" may find it easier to understand when he is given an example to consider. One such example could be a person who is driving hell for leather up a residential street or highway. A law enforcement officer may give him a speeding ticket as punishment for breaking speed laws. In such a case, this use of the phrase means the party was driving very fast and recklessly.

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