Fishes


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be sleeping with the fishes

gangster cliché To be murdered and have one's body disposed of in a river, lake, or ocean. Don't worry, boss, that no-good snitch will be sleeping with the fishes before sunrise.
See also: Fishes, sleep

be swimming with the fishes

gangster cliché To be murdered and have one's body disposed of in a river, lake, or ocean. (A less common variant of "be sleeping with the fishes.") Don't worry, boss, that no-good snitch will be swimming with the fishes before sunrise.
See also: Fishes, swimming

dead fish

vulgar slang Someone who lies still, shows no emotion, and comes across as disinterested during sex. Don't just lie there like a dead fish! Communicate with me—tell me what you like. She was so sexy in the club, but, to be honest, she was kind of a dead fish in bed.
See also: dead, fish

feed the fishes

slang To drown. Primarily heard in UK. We've got a search party out there right now, but I'm getting more and more worried about some of our guys feeding the fishes. If you can't swim, it's only a matter of time till you feed the fishes!
See also: feed, Fishes

fish

slang
1. An unintelligent, incompetent, or bumbling person. We thought he was going to really take charge and lead the project in exciting new directions, but he turned out to be a bit of a fish in the end. You fish! How'd you screw this report up so bad?
2. An inept or inexperienced poker player. An allusion to the term "shark," meaning a player who is very skilled and ruthless. He let them get cocky and think he was a fish for the first few hands, before taking them for all they were worth by the end of the night.
3. A newly arrived prison inmate, typically when seen as naïve to prison life. A: "Who's going to show the fresh fish to his cell?" B: "I will. Follow me, bub."
4. rude interjection A substitution for "fuck," used as an exclamation of anger, indignation, irritation, or exasperation. A: "Fish!" B: "What happened?" A: "I dropped my plate and it smashed on the ground!" The motor just burnt out on this mower again! Oh, fish!

fish around

1. To grope around (for something) with one's hands. I'm fishing around under the couch, but I don't think your phone is down here, Mom!
2. To pursue something indirectly, often compliments, as by saying negative things about oneself. Quit fishing around for compliments—we all liked your performance, OK?
See also: around, fish

fish for (something)

1. Literally, to seek a particular kind of fish while fishing. I heard we're fishing for salmon today.
2. To grope around for something with one's hands. I'm fishing for your phone under the couch, but I don't think it's down here, Mom!
3. To pursue something indirectly, often compliments, as by saying negative things about oneself. Quit fishing for compliments—we all liked your performance, OK?
See also: fish, for

fish for compliments

To attempt to elicit praise from someone, typically by saying negative things about oneself. We know you're a smart kind, Dan. You don't need to fish for compliments by talking about the one C you got. Tara's always fishing for compliments by talking about how she couldn't get her hair the way she wanted it.
See also: compliment, fish, for

fish in troubled waters

To try to capitalize on or benefit from a situation, circumstance, or experience that is fraught with disorder, difficulty, confusion, stress, etc. No one really thought about the money lenders who were making cash hand over fist during the recession, fishing in the troubled waters many homeowners and small businesses found themselves in.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fish out

1. To pull someone or something from a body or container of water, as if by fishing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "out." Emergency services had to fish the drunken swimmer out of the freezing river after he started getting into difficulty. No, I will not fish out your keys for you. You're the one who dropped them in the toilet!
2. To find and retrieve something (from within something else). A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "out." It took me a minute to fish my keys out of my bag.
3. To completely empty something of fish, as of a body of water where fishing is common. Typically used in passive constructions. We won't catch anything here if it's already fished out.
See also: fish, out

fish up

To yank or pluck something up out of something else (likened to catching a fish on a fishing line). A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "up." It took me a minute to fish my keys up out of my bag. I reached into the tank and fished up a large lobster.
See also: fish, up

fish up out of (something)

To yank or pluck something up out of something else (likened to catching a fish on a fishing line). A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "up." It took me a minute to fish my keys up out of my bag. I reached in and fished a large lobster up out of the tank.
See also: fish, of, out, up

loaves and fishes

Tangible benefits or rewards, especially when they serve as one's motivation for action. The phrase refers to the Bible story in which Jesus blesses a small amount of fish and loaves of bread, resulting in the disciples having enough food to distribute to thousands of people. Paul hasn't helped us with this project at all, but you know he'll be there for the loaves and fishes if we win the contest!
See also: and, Fishes, loaves

odd fish

Someone deemed strange by others. No, I didn't invite Joey—he's an odd fish, if you ask me. You can't say weird stuff like that, unless you want everyone else to think you're an odd fish.
See also: fish, odd

sleep with the fishes

gangster cliché To be murdered and have one's body disposed of in a river, lake, or ocean. Make sure that no-good snitch sleeps with the fishes before he gets a chance to testify in court.
See also: Fishes, sleep

Ye gods and little fishes!

euphemism, old-fashioned An exclamation of shock, astonishment, or incredulity. A more emphatic, though less serious, way of saying "ye gods," a minced oath used as a stand-in for the more blasphemous "Oh my God!" Primarily heard in US. O, ye gods and little fishes! When will this torturous day end? A: "Inspector, look—a picture of the culprit!" B: "Ye gods and little fishes—it's Councilor Williams. He was under our noses the whole time!"
See also: and, god, little, ye
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fish in troubled waters

Fig. to involve oneself in a difficult, confused, or dangerous situation, especially with a view to gaining an advantage. Frank is fishing in troubled waters by buying more shares of that company. They are supposed to be in financial difficulties. The company could make more money by selling armaments abroad, but they would be fishing in troubled waters.
See also: fish, trouble, water
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fish in troubled waters

Try to take advantage of a confused situation. For example, He often buys up stock in companies declaring bankruptcy; fishing in troubled waters generally pays off . This term, first recorded in 1568, expresses the even older notion that fish bite more readily when seas are rough.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fish out

1. Also, fish up. Discover and retrieve something from a pile or store. For example, She finally fished out the right letter from the files, or He fished up a scandal for the paper to run in the early edition. This usage likens pulling fish from the sea to finding something. [Mid-1600s]
2. Deplete the fish in a body of water by fishing, as in This stream is completely fished out.
See also: fish, out
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fish in troubled waters

If you fish in troubled waters, you try to get an advantage by getting involved in someone else's problems. We must be careful not to appear to be fishing in troubled waters.
See also: fish, trouble, water
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

feed the fishes

1 be dead from drowning. 2 vomit over the side of a boat. informal
See also: feed, Fishes

fish in troubled waters

make a profit out of trouble or upheaval.
See also: fish, trouble, water

loaves and fishes

personal profit as a motive for religious profession or public service.
This idiom developed from a biblical passage in John 6:26: ‘Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled’.
See also: and, Fishes, loaves
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fish for compliments

encourage somebody indirectly to say nice things about you: Stop asking me if you look OK. You’re just fishing for compliments.
See also: compliment, fish, for
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

fish around

v.
To seek within some place by or as if by probing: She was fishing around in her pocket for a quarter. He fished around for compliments after the meeting.
See also: around, fish
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

fish

n. a stupid and inept person. (Derogatory.) The guy’s a fish. He can’t do anything right.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
From several fishes' nostrils, they recorded electrical signals carrying information to the brain from olfactory neurons.
To mirror the fishes we angle for one last time, it seems to me that we all need wildness--deep in our souls, but also at our fingertips.
Identification of Diphyllobothrium dendriticum and Diphyllobothrium latum from some freshwater fishes of central Canada.
Two recent studies have also examined the impact of full life-long exposure to E[E.sub.2] on reproductive success in other fishes. Lange et al.
Fishelson described the evolution of this trait in the March Environmental Biology of Fishes.
In a study published in the 15 May 2003 issue of Nature, Ransom Myers, a biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, wrote that "the global ocean has lost more than 90% of large predatory fishes." Moreover, a fishing ground's marine carnivores can be overfished in a matter of just several years.
As the larvae matured into adult fish, the scientists found glowing green sperm, produced from the donor fishes' spermatogonia, in males.
So, she and Zakon monitored fishes' electric fields in several scenarios, the team reports in an upcoming Animal Behaviour.
BIG OLD MAMMAS Fleets have overfished boneless fishes, principally sharks, skates, and rays, along with boned fish, which are virtually all other fish of commercial value.