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At a heat vs In heat

at a heat(coll.) at a single intense effort or action:

  • The new articles having been “thrown off at a heat,” stood particularly in want of re-revision.

in heat—(of animals) in the state of sexual excitement during the breeding season (also: on heat):

  • “I’m no bitch in heat,” she said between tight teeth, “take your paws off me.”

See also: at a white heat / in a dead heat.