fish or cut bait

(redirected from get off the pot)

fish or cut bait

Work productively on something or give up. Are you going to go back to medical school or not? It's time to fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

Fish or cut bait.

Fig. Do something or get out of the way. Fish or cut bait, Chuck. There's work to be done here. Decide whether you're going to watch or help. Fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut bait

Either proceed with an activity or abandon it completely. For example, You've been putting off calling him for hours; either fish or cut bait. This expression, often uttered as an imperative, alludes to a fisherman who should either be actively trying to catch fish or cutting up bait for others to use. It was first recorded in the Congressional Record (1876), when Congressman Joseph P. Cannon called for a vote on a bill legalizing the silver dollar: "I want you gentlemen on the other side of the House to 'fish or cut bait.'" A vulgar synonym from the 1940s is shit or get off the pot.
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut bait

AMERICAN
If you tell someone to fish or cut bait, you mean they should stop wasting time and make a decision to do something. Morale was low after seven weeks without progress — the time had come to fish or cut bait. Note: The literal meaning behind this expression seems to be that it is time for someone to make a definite decision either to start fishing, or else to prepare the bait so that other people can fish.
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut bait

stop vacillating and decide to act on or disengage from something. North American informal
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut ˈbait

(American English, informal) used to tell somebody to make a decision and take the necessary action: There’s been enough discussion. It’s time for the government to fish or cut bait.
Bait is the food you put on a hook to catch fish. If you cut bait, you stop fishing.
See also: bait, cut, fish

Fish or cut bait

sent. Do something or get out of the way. Decide whether you’re going to watch or help. Fish or cut bait.
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut bait

Informal
To proceed with an activity or abandon it altogether.
See also: bait, cut, fish

fish or cut bait

Do it or leave. The entire expression was “fish or cut bait or go ashore,” a commercial fishing industry warning that if you weren't hauling in a catch, you'd better find something more useful to do, such as cutting baitfish into pieces. And if you couldn't do that, you were just taking up space and you'd be fired. A similar expression that's still in use is the non-gender specific “pee or get off the pot” (or in slightly less genteel surroundings, “shit or get off the pot”).
See also: bait, cut, fish
References in periodicals archive ?
His answer was, Casey, you're a big boy now, it's time to shit or get off the pot.