I found that it means fast. But it is not clear in which specific cases it is possible to use it. How to use this expression correctly? Curiously, what is its etymology?

Example: when I see her, I'll know right off the bat. Or. I need it right off the bat.

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    If you added an example or two, we could tell if it should be 'off' rather than 'of'. And if so, you could look it up to see if there are online explanations. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 18 '17 at 21:55
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    Almost certainly "right off the bat", which is literally meaningful in baseball and cricket. – Hot Licks Oct 18 '17 at 21:59
  • @EdwinAshworth you are right. I have add an example. – kizoso Oct 18 '17 at 22:05
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    Also "hot off the bat", and distinct from "off his own bat". – JEL Oct 18 '17 at 22:21
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    @JEL and also clean off the bat and fresh off the bat, which I'm guessing referred to military resupply pack horses called bathorses. And one suggestive right fresh off the bat, suggesting a pivot. – Phil Sweet Oct 19 '17 at 0:43

Christine Ammer, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition (2013) has this brief account of the idiom:

right off the bat Instantly, immediately, as in I can't tell you how many right off the bat, but I can find out. This term alludes to a baseball being hit by a bat. {First half of 1900s}

However, an Elephind search of newspaper databases finds literal instances of "right off the bat" from as early as 1868. From "The Championship: Mutuals vs. Atlantics," in the New York Clipper (October 31, 1868):

Wolters went out on a foul ball taken by Mills. McMahon, after a foul and one strike, put the ball beautifully low to left field, making his base. Swandel[l] then hit to to left field, Chapman made a brisk run for it, but dropped it, and Swandell got to first, McMahon to second. Mills, after two strikes, was taken on a wonderfully sharp tip, right off the bat by his namesake. Then Zettlein hit high to centre field, and Hunt disposed of him nicely; McDonald sending another ball toward Mills, ended the "jig."

and figurative instances from as early as 1888. From the "Where He Got It," in the [Clarksville, Texas] Standard (September 20, 1888):

"Well it is a vice you'd better get rid of then. Refined conversation is a mark of culture. Let me hear that kid use slang again and I'll give it to him right off the bat. I'll wipe up the floor with him. I'll—"

The joke here is that the father is the source of the slang that he criticizes his son for using and suspects his wife of encouraging. Elsewhere in the article, the father uses two other slangy baseball-related expressions: "he'll make a home run of the liveliest kind" and "You are entirely off your base." The latter is still popular as an idiom in the United States in the form "You are off base."

In any case, "right off the bat" meaning literally "glancing, bounding, or moving in a line or arc off a baseball player's bat" dates to at least 1868, and "right off the bat" meaning figuratively "at once" or "right away" dates to at least 1888.


Right off the bat =right from the git-go [sic]= straight out of the gate... that is right away, or more precisely the incident that follows this introductory phrase was the first significant incident to occur in an experience or series of incidents.


"Right off the bat" is what I think you mean.

Immediately; at once; without delay.


As in: "Tom didn't even need to think about the question. He knew the answer right off the bat."

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