Definition of fly-by-night in US English:

fly-by-night

adjective

  • attributive Unreliable or untrustworthy, especially in business or financial matters.

    ‘cheap suits made by fly-by-night operators’
    • ‘We've come into this when e-learning has a bad reputation thanks to the dot-com bust with its explosion of fly-by-night operations.’
    • ‘Excessive controls and interference in private education institutions could encourage fly-by-night operators.’
    • ‘If it were a matter of sneaking up buildings without permits, or choosing fly-by-night builders, or the result of some freak accident, then it could be argued to be the customer's problem.’
    • ‘The music business hasn't got a lot of patience for fly-by-night bands which enter the stage door running only to end up careening right out the other side.’
    • ‘And fly-by-night exchange operators weren't the only ones with a casual approach to the law.’
    • ‘This situation presents an important challenge for small businesses: how can I convince my potential customers that I am not an unethical, fly-by-night operation?’
    • ‘It is down to profits and too many fly-by-night companies.’
    • ‘‘We must crack down on fly-by-night operators who set up premium-rate line services, only to disappear days later before the regulator has a chance to investigate complaints,’ he said.’
    • ‘There are 1,200 such homes in the country but there are also fly-by-night operators.’
    • ‘Those things are pretty much the ‘female equivalent’ of those shady fly-by-night websites that promise to sell a guy a book of tricks on how to ‘score’.’
    • ‘We're not interested in building flats - we're not get rich quick fly-by-night developers.’
    • ‘It is a pity that the Government is still unable to prevent unscrupulous fly-by-night money chains, and schemes from exploiting the common man's urge to make a fast buck out of nothing.’
    • ‘The survey also finds that many Chinese have little faith in the unfledged domestic soccer league which, in their eyes, is full of fly-by-night operations and scandals and therefore unsuitable as betting targets.’
    • ‘Thousands of fly-by-night operations have long scoffed at inspections, sanctions, and other familiar methods to ensure compliance.’
    • ‘In a world of fly-by-night operations, this is a long-term investment..’
    • ‘During the period of active Y2K remediation last year, much was made of the possibility that unscrupulous, fly-by-night contractors might install back doors to networks they were engaged to repair.’
    • ‘Sometimes the counterfeiters are fly-by-night operations, but just as often they're legitimate companies that have a dark side.’
    • ‘These are not fly-by-night firms and fortunately so far the offending firms have backed down.’
    • ‘If you have a storefront, post its address along with a telephone number for those who want more than a virtual connection or assurance that you're no fly-by-night operation.’
    • ‘One can't discount the importance of protecting the public from charlatans and fly-by-night operations.’
    unreliable, undependable, irresponsible, untrustworthy
    View synonyms

noun

  • An unreliable or untrustworthy person.

    • ‘I leased out part of the shop to a mixed bag of fly-by-nighters.’
    • ‘The problem is, it's not just that some fly-by-nighters are slipping pharmaceuticals in.’
    • ‘Normal Fortune 500 firms shy away, and when the bidding starts, it is always by the fast buck artists, and the fly-by-nighters.’
    • ‘And the fly-by-nights they are worried about are not moths.’
    • ‘It's really widespread, and it's an industry characterised by fly-by-nighters, and you will often find that the employers or the contractors who are handing out the work are often one step ahead.’
    • ‘Though each precinct was unique, all of them included both highly stable officers and fly-by-nights.’
    • ‘You should only relate to this movie if you're a bit of a fly-by-nighter.’
    • ‘Some are fly-by-nighters who don't even care where the buttons are.’
    • ‘But these are just episodes, mere fly-by-nights.’
    • ‘The company is an internet based recruitment service, one of the many but long established and from what I knew of them before today quite a good one - definitely not fly-by-nights.’
    • ‘It's better to stick with the better-known players or use recommendations from savvy colleagues, friends or reviewers, since fly-by-nighters operate in the computer arena as any other.’
    • ‘It is just the fly-by-nighters, who come into the industry to build a structure and then disappear, who will be affected.’
    • ‘The story that I am talking about is a fraud on the New Zealand Government that has been perpetrated by immigrant operators and foreign fly-by-nighters.’
    • ‘Hopefully, this will deter the fly-by-nighters who would endanger the well-being of New Zealanders.’
    • ‘Why would marine farmers continue to invest if they knew that they would be shifted out after 20 years and that some competitor - a fly-by-nighter - would take their space?’
    • ‘The Next Big Thing is always out there as are the fly-by-nighters trying to convince some VC that they've hit upon it.’
    • ‘If we get knocked it will be by fly-by-nights, not by those who have supported us over all these years.’
    • ‘I understand that, and let that be accepted, but we have to test your propositions and those of the appellant against what Justice McHugh called the fly-by-nights, and they exist, Mr Tracey.’
    • ‘A marine farmer who is already established and who is a good tenant should not have to have his or her space taken over by a fly-by-nighter because there is no right of refusal.’
    • ‘Is there anyone who cares or are those who raise their voices on behalf of the environment doomed to be condemned as fly-by-nighters out to frustrate the ‘development ‘of the island?’’

Pronunciation

fly-by-night

/ˈflī bə ˌnīt//ˈflaɪ bə ˌnaɪt/