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Apparently a blend of hell-bent +‎ hell-for-leather, though sometimes said to have been initially applied to animals which behaved poorly as if they were bent on being turned into leather.


hell-bent for leather (not comparable)

  1. (Behaving) determinedly recklessly, in a manner that lacks restraint.
    • 2003, Edward Landers, Smooth (→ISBN), page 510:
      [...] his Supply Officer was hell bent for leather to torpedo his tour as the Commanding Officer and wanted explanations, or at least reassurances.
    • 2013, Clem Martini, One Hundred Stories for One Hundred Years (→ISBN), page 52:
      She had been through several programs, to no avail; nothing worked, she was hell-bent for leather, she was intent on hurting herself.
  2. Synonym of hell-for-leather (very fast)
    • 2009, Yay Panlilio, The Crucible: An Autobiography by Colonel Yay, Filipina American Guerrilla, Rutgers University Press (→ISBN):
      “Gosh!” said Marking. “Where the hell did the Japs get that? [...Was that] a Jap plane? God damn, it was fast.” And I agreed, “It was hell-bent for leather some place.”
  3. Synonym of hell-bent ((recklessly) determined)
    • 2000, Angus Wynn, Mojave Fringe (→ISBN), page 95:
      It had been quite some piece of road from an eastern region of Arizona to SOD, but Jethro was hell-bent for leather. His desire for a meeting with Zelda Klemp had taken him over. He'd been driving since late the previous night ...
    • 2006, Jeanne Elizabeth Siphron, Fit to be crazy: living with lithium and manic depression (→ISBN):
      I was determined not to be a back seat driver. I said nothing. I waited patiently for her to stop hugging the berm to keep distance from fast moving traffic. I waited for three thousand miles. She was hell bent for leather to get to our destination, ...