15 Phrases Like “Hurry Up And Wait”

You are likely to use the phrase “hurry up and wait” when you have to rush to do something and then wait a long time to do it.

An excellent example is when you go all and above to be early for a job interview, only to sit at the reception for hours before being summoned to the personal interview.

While “hurry up and wait” is a befitting expression for such situations, you may be looking for an alternative phrase, especially when it’s overused or doesn’t convey the intended meaning in some situations.

Some alternative phrases to “hurry up and wait” include “act fast, but be patient,” “Fast start, slow finish,” and “prepare for the delay.” The best alternative phrase depends on the specific context and desired tone, but a concise and memorable option could be “swift action, prolonged pause.”

“Hurry up and wait” can sound frustrating or negative in many contexts, implying wasted time or inefficiency.

In this article, I’ll share fifteen similar phrases you can use in place of “hurry up and wait,” along with the ideal situations where they fit perfectly.

What is the meaning of hurry up and wait?

Phrases Like Hurry Up And Wait

The phrase “hurry up and wait” refers to a situation where someone is rushed or pushed to complete a task quickly, only to find themselves waiting for an extended period afterward.

This phrase is commonly used in the military to describe the experience of soldiers (recruits, especially) who must move quickly to a location only to wait for a long time for further instructions.

This ironic and sarcastic expression reflects frustration, so you tend to use it in any situation where there is a sense of urgency or a need for speed, but the situation requires waiting afterward.

For example, those moments when you have to wait in line for a popular ride at an amusement park after rushing to get there early.

Despite the efficiency of the expression, “hurry up and wait” tends to be overused or lacks momentary effectiveness in conveying the intended meaning.

So here are some best alternatives:

List of the best 15 phrases like hurry up and wait

1. Act fast, but be patient

If you had to take swift and decisive action while maintaining discipline, but after that, had to wait for the desired outcome, then you can use “act fast, but be patient” instead of ‘hurry up and wait”

This is a similar and ideal replacement for the original expression because it acknowledges the need for urgency while avoiding the sense of frustration that comes with waiting.

But essentially, you use this phrase to convey a positive attitude toward the matter at hand.

This phrase is best used in situations where there’s a need for action, but the outcome may take time.

For example,

  • The product launch and expected customer feedback as a “hurry up and wait” situation
  • When launching the new product, we acted fast to get it to market but were patient in waiting for consumer feedback.

2. Prepare for the delay

Picture this: you’re traveling during a busy holiday season, and you arrived at the airport early to catch your flight but eventually had to deal with flight delays.

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Realizing this, you can say it’s a hurry-up-and-wait situation. So if you want to warn someone about this, you can simply say “Prepare for the delay,” instead.

It’s an ideal replacement for “hurry up and wait” because it acknowledges that delays are a possibility and encourages preparation rather than frustration.

For example,

  • Catching up with the evening bus is always a hurry-up-and-wait saga.
  • Catching up with the evening bus means you should prepare for delays.

This phrase is best used in situations where there’s a risk of delays, such as in transportation, project management, or event planning.

3. Quick march, then idle stance

I remember when I worked in a manufacturing environment. Every day, workers would be expected to quickly complete a production run and then wait for the next order to come in.

So you’d imagine that we, in several instances, used the phrase “hurry up and wait” but it could also be replaced with “quick march, then idle stance”

It’s one of the best replacements for “hurry up and wait” because it emphasizes the need for speed and productivity, followed by a period of rest or waiting.

For example,

  • During military training, the soldiers were often trained to hurry up during drills and then wait for further command.
  • During military training, the soldiers were often trained to move quickly during drills and then stand at ease until the next command was given.

4. Swift action, prolonged pause

You can use this phrase when you’re in a situation where there’s a clear objective that requires a burst of activity followed by a waiting period, such as in scientific research or class procedures.

When I write essays, I often use the phrase  “Swift action, prolonged pause” to convey a situation where people take quick and decisive action, followed by a patient and extended period of waiting.

For example,

  • The engineers on the space mission hurried for the space launch and had to wait for the spacecraft to reach its destination.
  • The space mission involved a quick launch, then a prolonged period of waiting for the spacecraft to reach its destination.

5. Fast start, slow finish

You can use “fast start, slow finish,” as an alternative to “hurry up and wait” especially in situations where you had to rigorously hurry to obtain something or achieve a milestone, only to go through a disappointingly slow process to implement the milestone.

Phrases Like Hurry Up And Wait

It’s an ideal replacement for “hurry up and wait” because it acknowledges the importance of starting strong and moving quickly while also recognizing the value of a slower, more deliberate approach to the finish.

This alternative phrase has a positive attitude, rather than the sense of feeling frustrated.

6. Rush to stand still

Instead of repeatedly saying “Hurry up and wait” you can occasionally replace the expression with something more creative — that accurately and figuratively describes your frustrations.

“Rush to stand still” means that someone hurried you to do something, only for you to wait (stand still) for that thing to be accepted or acknowledged.

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You can use this phrase as often when your task goes through red tape even after you’ve been put under pressure to get it done.

7. Turbo boost, then wait your turn

This is one of my favorite lines to use during queues. It perfectly underscores the message that the phrase “hurry up and wait” means.

I can remember when my city was sent into a frenzy because the government required citizens to possess a particular identification card and the only way to get it was through a particular national agency’s physical office.

The queue at this agency center across the entire city grew exponentially and people would have to hurry up to the centers to secure a spot in the queue, only to wait for hours till they got their turn.

That’s a turbo boost, then wait till your turn kind of situation.

8. Speed now, stillness later.

In this context, “hurry up” is represented with the word “speed now” and then “wait” is replaced with the words “stillness later”

Both phrases mean the same thing. However, the latter has a more positive undertone while the former leans toward an expression of frustration.

9. Hurry up, then hold tight

Another way to say “hurry up and wait” is to say “hurry up, then hold tight” You can use this especially when you don’t want to discard the use of “hurry” in the expression.

For example,

  • Potential subscribers for the show at the cinema had to hurry up to queues and wait for their turn
  • Potential subscribers for the show at the cinema had to hurry up to queues and hold tight till it gets to their turn

Phrases Like Hurry Up And Wait

10. Move swiftly, then wait patiently

Each time I visit the hospital, I cannot help but notice how doctors often need to move swiftly to save a patient’s life, but then wait patiently for the patient to recover.

It is a hurry-up-and-wait situation, but we can’t exactly call it that. In situations like this, we can use the phrase “move swiftly, then wait patiently”

It’s an ideal replacement for “hurry up and wait” because it emphasizes the need for both speed and patience, rather than frustration or inaction during periods of waiting.

For example,

  • The project deadlines set by the manager were a hurry-up-and-wait situation.
  • The project deadlines set by the manager were a “move swiftly and wait patiently” situation.

11. Quick to act, long to wait

Let’s take a cue from how construction workers need to act quickly to build a foundation, but then wait patiently for the concrete to cure.

It’s a hurry up and waiting for the situation but for a positive course. So an ideal replacement for such an expression would be “quick to act, long to wait”

You can use this phrase in situations where you had to take swift and decisive action when necessary but then had the patience to wait for the desired outcome.

12. Swift motion, delayed outcome

While the central idea of this alternative phrase gears slightly away from the idea of “hurry up and wait” both phrases can be used interchangeably in some situations.

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Look at how, in agriculture, farmers may need to take swift action to plant crops, but then wait for the harvest season to arrive.

That’s a hurry-up-and-wait situation but it is best expressed as swift motion and delayed outcome because the delay is for an expected and anticipated greater good.

“Swift motion, delayed outcome” is an ideal replacement for “hurry up and wait” because it emphasizes the need for speed and action, but also acknowledges that the outcome may take time.

13. Sprint and stop

You can use this innuendo to express your frustrations as it directly connects and draws meaning from the core origin of “hurry up and wait”

You know how soldiers would have to sprint to carry out a task or be present somewhere, only to stop and wait for hours until they commence what they went there for?

It’s the same case.

So whatever area of your day-to-day life where you have to face similar frustrations, you can say “sprint and stop” instead of the overused “hurry up and wait”

14. Fast track, slow lane

The speed and efficiency requirement that is put on you to get something done or be somewhere at a time, and then the value of patience and careful planning needed for things to work out as expected.

You can use “fast track, slow lane” as a replacement for “hurry up and wait” when there’s a need for both quick action and careful consideration, such as in business or project management.

15. Quick response, prolonged wait

“Quick response, prolonged wait” means that you need to act fast, but then be prepared to wait patiently for the results.

It’s the perfect replacement for “hurry up and wait” because it reminds you to take quick action, but then sit back, relax, and have some fun while you wait.

This phrase is best used when you’re facing a situation that requires urgent action, like submitting a job application or asking someone out on a date. Once you’ve done your part, kick back and relax!

Remember, quick response, prolonged wait – but at least you can enjoy the ride!

Phrases Like Hurry Up And Wait

Now that you know…

With this extensive list of alternative phrases to “hurry up and wait,” you can express the frustration of getting somewhere quickly, but when you do, you have to wait for the “event” to happen.

But before you use any of these similar phrases, ensure your selected option conveys the desired tone. For example, are you saying it with a positive undertone? Or urgency?

Also, consider the length of the phrase and whether it is concise and easy to remember. Also, ensure the alternative phrase you intend to use accurately conveys the same meaning as “hurry up and wait.”

Above all, you want to consider the specific situation and audience (context).

Ensure that the similar phrase you chose is appropriate for the setting and people involved.

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