fishing expedition

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fishing expedition

An attempt to discover information without knowing what it may be. The term implies that the search does not have a specific subject but is rather performed in the hopes that some new information will be found that will be beneficial to the searcher. Primarily heard in US. The defense attorney objected to the vague line of questioning, accusing the prosecutor of engaging in a fishing expedition.
See also: expedition, fishing

fishing expedition

a search for information without knowledge of whether such information exists. (This involves asking questions with no preconceived notion of what the answers might reveal.) The lawyer was on a fishing expedition. There was no real wrong committed to justify a lawsuit. Your honor, the prosecutor is just on a clumsy fishing expedition. I move for dismissal. We are going to have to go on a fishing expedition to try to find the facts.
See also: expedition, fishing

fishing expedition

An attempt to find useful information by asking questions at random. For example, The sales force was told to go on a fishing expedition to find out what they could about the company's competitors . This expression was taken up by lawyers to describe interrogating an adversary in hopes of finding relevant evidence and is now used more broadly still. [c. 1930]
See also: expedition, fishing

fishing expedition

n. an exploratory search for facts. (This involves asking questions with no preconceived notion of what the answers might reveal.) The lawyer was on a fishing expedition. There was no real wrong committed to justify a lawsuit.
See also: expedition, fishing
References in periodicals archive ?
It would say that anytime officials want to go on a fishing expedition in medical records, on a hunch or just because under the law of percentages it might sometimes result in finding evidence, they can;' he says.