a fishing expedition

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

a fishing expedition

mainly AMERICAN
If you are on a fishing expedition, you are trying to find out facts about something, often secretly. I know why you're here. You're on a fishing expedition. You're hunting for material. He was asked whether Wilkey was engaged in a fishing expedition aimed at politically embarrassing the House.
See also: expedition, fishing

a fishing expedition

a search or investigation undertaken with the hope, though not the stated purpose, of discovering information.
1998 High Country News Agency insiders describe the inquiry as a fishing expedition to uncover evidence that Dombeck may have been a party to illegal lobbying.
See also: expedition, fishing
References in periodicals archive ?
Olwa is said to have left home 20 years ago for a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria.
A man who was on a fishing expedition in Lake Naivasha was on Tuesday evening mauled to death by a hippo.According to the Boat Owners Association Chairman David Kilo, the lone fisherman was casting his fishing net in the waters at around 5.
GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Officials of a local fishing company here have sought the help of Philippine authorities to locate their fishing vessel with at least nine fishing crew aboard which had gone missing since October 31 while on a fishing expedition off Celebes Sea.
Speaking at the oathtaking of PACC officials in Malacanang, the President said that his bank records remained off-limits to his enemies, lest they use the records for a fishing expedition.
"A fishing expedition can cost up to SR 2,000 while profits form the shrimp catch can reach from SR7-8,000 which saw many fishermen in the sea until the last day of the season," he noted.
London, July 29 (ANI): Sarah Palin had an encounter with a brown bear while she was on a fishing expedition in Alaska.
The Bush administration only faces problems with wiretapping calls when the calls are probably not being made by terrorists--when the executive branch goes on a fishing expedition with taps on all Americans' phone lines.
"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.
Three generations of the Greene family, all called Michael, disappeared in February when they left Kilkeel on a fishing expedition.