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neither fish, flesh, nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but what the chancellor has put forward is, to my mind, neither fish, flesh nor fowl.
See also: fowl, neither, nor

neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring

obsolete Not belonging to any suitable class of thing; unfit for any purpose or to be used by anyone. This older phrase appeared in a 16th-century proverb collection, where fish refers to food for monks (who abstained from meat), flesh refers to food for the general populace, and "good red herring" refers to inexpensive fish that would have been food for the poor. With crime as it is in this township, the law must be aggressive and dependable; unfortunately, the new constable is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring.
See also: good, herring, neither, nor, red

neither fish nor flesh

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but what the chancellor has put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor flesh.
See also: fish, flesh, neither, nor

hide (n)or hair

No sign or sight of something or someone. I haven't seen hide nor hair of our neighbor in weeks—I hope he's OK! Can you go check outside for the cat? I haven't seen hide or hair of her in hours.
See also: hair, hide

be neither fish nor fowl

To be difficult to describe or definitively categorize. What genre of music is this? It's neither fish nor fowl to me.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

be neither one thing nor the other

To be an unappealing combination of two very different things. A: "I thought you liked country and jazz." B: "I do, and that's why this band is so disappointing—it's neither one thing nor the other."
See also: neither, nor, one, other, thing

neither hide nor hair

No trace or evidence of someone or something. I don't know where Mike went. I've seen neither hide nor hair of him all day.
See also: hair, hide, neither, nor

can't make head nor tail of (someone or something)

Cannot understand someone or something at all; cannot make any sense of someone or something. I've been working with the new software for hours, but I still can't make head nor tail of it. I can't make head nor tail of that new guy in accounting. Sometimes, he's really friendly, and then other times he acts like he's never met me before.
See also: head, make, nor, of, tail

neither fish nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but the proposal that has been put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor fowl.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

haven't seen hide nor hair of (someone or something)

To have not seen any trace or evidence of someone or something. I don't know where Mike went. I haven't seen hide nor hair of him all day.
See also: hair, hide, nor, of, seen

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

Prov. It is difficult to be friends with someone who owes you money or with someone to whom you owe something, so it is better not to borrow or lend in the first place. After losing several of my favorite books because I didn't have the nerve to insist that my friends return them, I learned that it is best to neither a borrower nor a lender be.
See also: neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Cliché not any recognizable thing. The car that they drove up in was neither fish nor fowl. It must have been made out of spare parts. This proposal is neither fish nor fowl. I can't tell what you're proposing.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Cliché of no consequence or meaning; irrelevant and immaterial. Whether you go to the movie or stay at home is neither here nor there. Your comment—though interesting—is neither here nor there.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

*(neither) hide nor hair

Cliché no sign or indication of someone or something. (*Typically: find ~; see ~.) We could find neither hide nor hair of him. I don't know where he is. There has been no one here. We found neither hide nor hair.
See also: hair, hide, nor

*neither rhyme nor reason

Cliché without logic, order, or planning. (Describes something disorganized. *Typically: be ~; have ~.) There seems to be neither rhyme nor reason to Gerald's filing system. The novel's plot had neither rhyme nor reason.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme

not for (anything in) the world

 and not for love nor money; not on your life
Fig. not for anything (no matter what its value). (Note the variation in the examples. The order of love nor money is fixed.) I won't do it for love nor money. He said he wouldn't do it—not for the world.
See also: not, world

not miss something for the world

 and not miss something for love nor money
Fig. would not miss something for any reason at all. Of course I'll be at your wedding. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
See also: miss, not, world

hide nor hair, neither

Also, hide or hair. No trace of something lost or missing. For example, I haven't seen hide nor hair of the children. This expression alludes to the entire outer coat of an animal. [Mid-1800s]
See also: hide, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Also, neither fish nor flesh; neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. Not one or the other, not something fitting any category under discussion. For example, They felt he was neither fish nor fowl-not qualified to lead the department, yet not appropriate to work as a staff member either . This expression appeared in slightly different form in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection ("Neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring") and is thought to allude to food for monks ( fish, because they abstained from meat), for the people ( flesh, or meat), and for the poor ( red herring, a very cheap fish).
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither here nor there

Unimportant, irrelevant, as in You pay for the movie and I'll get the dinner check, or vice versa-it's neither here nor there . This expression was first recorded in 1583. Also see beside the point.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

not for love or money

Never, under no circumstances, as in I'd never visit them again, not for love or money. A version of this expression, which alludes to these two powerful persuasive forces, was recorded in a.d. 971.
See also: love, money, not

rhyme or reason, no

An absence of common sense or reasonableness, as in This memo has no rhyme or reason. Closely related variants are without rhyme or reason, as in The conclusion of her paper was without rhyme or reason, and neither rhyme nor reason, as in Neither rhyme nor reason will explain that lawyer's objections. This term originated in French about 1475 and began to be used in English about a century later. Sir Thomas More is credited with saying of a mediocre book that a friend had put into verse, "Now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; whereas before it was neither rhyme nor reason."
See also: rhyme

neither fish nor fowl

If something or someone is neither fish nor fowl, they are difficult to identify or understand, because they seem partly like one thing and partly like another. Brunel's vessel was neither fish nor fowl: a passenger liner too ugly and dirty to offer much beyond novelty value. In the American sports press, this athlete is neither fish nor fowl, neither American nor entirely foreign. Note: People occasionally replace fish with flesh. She didn't look one of anything to Oatsie, neither flesh nor fowl, neither idiot nor intellectual. Note: `Fowl' is an old-fashioned word for a hen or other bird.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

cannot make head or tail of something

or

cannot make head nor tail of something

mainly BRITISH
If you cannot make head or tail of something or cannot make head nor tail of it, you cannot understand it at all. I couldn't make head or tail of the instructions. They couldn't make head nor tail of the new computer system.
See also: cannot, head, make, of, something, tail

neither here nor there

SPOKEN
COMMON If something is neither here nor there, it is completely unimportant and does not affect the situation in any way. He was a good man as it turned out, but that's neither here nor there. You know, five hundred pounds is neither here nor there to most of them.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

haven't seen hide nor hair of someone/something

If you haven't seen hide nor hair of someone or something, you have not seen them, although you expected to. I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since those days. Note: You can also say that you haven't seen hair nor hide of someone or something. After nearly two weeks in Australia, I hadn't seen hair nor hide of a kangaroo. Note: A hide is the skin of an animal, especially the tough skin of a large animal.
See also: hair, hide, nor, of, seen, something

for love nor money

or

for love or money

If you say that you cannot get something for love nor money or for love or money, you mean that it is very difficult to get. You won't get a room here, not for love nor money. Norman had created a fine vegetable garden that gave us all the things you couldn't buy in the local shops, for love or money.
See also: love, money, nor

no rhyme or reason

or

no rhyme nor reason

If there is no rhyme or reason or no rhyme nor reason for something, there seems to be no logical or obvious explanation for it. There seems no rhyme or reason behind the pricing of many of these products. I can see no rhyme nor reason for the variance in spelling. Note: You can also say that something happens without rhyme or reason. Symptoms appear and disappear apparently without rhyme or reason. Cuts are being made without rhyme or reason. The only motive is to save money to meet Treasury targets.
See also: reason, rhyme

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics; indefinite.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

hide nor hair

A trace; a vestige: haven't seen hide nor hair of them since the argument.
See also: hair, hide, nor

neither here nor there

Unimportant and irrelevant.
See also: here, neither, nor, there

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics or category, not easily characterized. The phrase, which was originally “neither fish nor flesh nor fowl,” appeared in slightly different form in a 16th-century collection of proverbs as “neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring”: fish for monks who ate no meat, flesh for people who could afford meat, and cheap herring for the poor. The phrase is reminiscent of the old riddle: What is neither fish nor flesh, feathers nor bone/but still has fingers and thumbs of its own? Answer: a glove.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither rhyme nor reason

Making no sense at all. “Rhyme” alludes to poetry and by extension all of the creative arts, while “reason” stands for intellect. Accordingly, something that can't be understood or justified in terms of either artistic merit or logic is indeed of little value.
See also: neither, nor, reason, rhyme
References in classic literature ?
Well, then," said Sancho, "in this lower side your worship has no more than two grinders and a half, and in the upper neither a half nor any at all, for it is all as smooth as the palm of my hand.
Yes," she replied, "but he does not know me for what I am, nor does he know who betrayed my mother to Tal Hajus.
Nor was it far from accomplishing this when an interruption occurred that put an end forever to its hostilities.
Life will be imaged, but cannot be divided nor doubled.
He knows drugs, you may be sure, as you can neither smell nor see, neither before they're swallowed nor after.
Nor had it continued long before many there were who would have prophesied that they were witnessing a duel that was to become historic in the annals of jetan at Manator.
said the newly created count, with a savage look at his general-secretary, for neither he nor his wife were noble.
Forth we rode then, but when we came to the Mouton d'Or,' Gourval had had word of our coming and its purpose, so that the door was barred, nor was there any way into the house.
I could not feed her, nor clothe her, nor shoe her.
But these others are not the footprints of man or woman or grey wolves or bears or lions, nor do I think they are the tracks of a rough- maned Centaur -- whoever it be that with swift feet makes such monstrous footprints; wonderful are the tracks on this side of the way, but yet more wonderfully are those on that.
Neither her father nor mother nor any of her relations are living.
But, on the other hand, if he has no money, and cannot provide himself tools or instruments, he will not work equally well himself, nor will he teach his sons or apprentices to work equally well.
She did not realize how far she and Gazan had become separated from the balance of the tribe, nor were her defensive senses upon the alert as they should have been.
My good landlady did not hope for such a blessing, nor would any of the ladies I have spoken of, or indeed any others of the most rigid note, have expected or insisted on any such thing.
There's neither fur, nor flannel -- no, sir, nor hot rum, will warm up what they call the temperature.