1. an absconding debtor
   Not from a witch, on or off her broomstick, or from the ominous bird, also known as the whistler or gobbleratch, whose nocturnal flight presaged imminent death, nor even the tourist on a package holiday on the cheapest ticket, but the tenant with unpaid rent who took his goods with him to prevent distraint by the landlord. Now standard English for anyone who is financially unreliable.
   See also moonlight flit.
   2. drunk
   Rhyming slang for tight1, with perhaps a sideswipe at the unreliability of drunkards.

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

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  • fly-by-night — fly by ,night adjective INFORMAL a fly by night company or businessman cannot be trusted because they are dishonest or may fail ╾ fly by ,night noun count …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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  • fly-by-night — [flī′bī nīt΄] adj. not trustworthy; esp., financially irresponsible n. a fly by night person; esp., a debtor who runs away to escape debts …   English World dictionary

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