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(as) slippery as an eel

Devious, scheming, and untrustworthy—and difficult or impossible to apprehend or pin down. The notorious criminal has proven to be as slippery as an eel for police, eluding capture once again. Companies like this are slippery as eels, coming up with all sorts of elaborate means of getting around regulations. Their embezzling CEO has been slippery as a eel, but we've finally got some hard evidence on him now.
See also: an, eel, slippery

be as slippery as an eel

To be devious, scheming, and untrustworthy—and difficult to apprehend. Of course that guy took everyone's money and left town—he's as slippery as an eel!
See also: an, eel, slippery

every eel hopes to become a whale

A phrase highlighting one's ambition. Just like every eel hopes to become a whale, I dream of becoming the CEO one day.
See also: become, eel, every, hope, to, whale

hold an eel by the tail

To try to engage or somehow detain an elusive person or thing. Trying to get in touch with my insurance company is like trying to holding an eel by the tail—I can never get through to a live person! Every time we try to pin charges on the mob boss, it's as hard as holding an eel by the tail because he somehow weasels his way out of them!
See also: an, by, eel, hold, tail

skin an eel by the tail

To do something in an ill-advised way. Why are you skinning an eel by the tail? You know you can't back out of the driveway until you clear all that snow out of the way!
See also: an, by, eel, skin, tail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*slippery as an eel

devious and untrustworthy, but impossible to catch. (*Also: as ~.) Don't sign a lease with that landlord; I think he's as slippery as an eel. The con artist was slippery as an eel. Although he defrauded many people, he never went to prison.
See also: an, eel, slippery
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

slippery as an eel

Elusive, devious, as in When it comes to talking about his investments, Jim's slippery as an eel. This simile, first recorded about 1412, alludes to the eel's skin, which has tiny scales and is quite slippery when wet.
See also: an, eel, slippery
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.

slippery as an eel

1. If someone is as slippery as an eel, they are difficult to catch or take hold of. When his opponent is on the attack, he is as slippery as an eel.
2. If someone is as slippery as an eel, they are clever and able to think quickly, but you cannot trust them. He was as clever as a fox and as slippery as an eel. Note: You can also describe someone as a slippery eel. He himself admits that he is regarded as a slippery eel — a man who constantly changes his mind.
See also: an, eel, slippery
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(as) slippery as an ˈeel

(informal) dishonest and good at not answering questions, etc: The man the police want to talk to is slippery as an eel, and has so far escaped arrest. OPPOSITE: (as) straight as a die (2)
See also: an, eel, slippery
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

slippery as an eel

Hard to grasp; elusive, and, by extension, deceitful. The eel’s long slender body, with only minute scales deeply embedded in the skin, looks totally smooth and is very slippery when wet. These characteristics gave rise to the simile, which dates from the fourteenth century and is still used today. (See the quotation in slip through one's fingers.)
See also: an, eel, slippery
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Seaview Lads SAC fished Sully, with top spot going to Ada Harris with a bag of conger eels for 15lb 12oz.
Once considered a bane in farming, swamp eels are now making rice farmers earn a little extra income.
Eels are protected by law and are capable of surviving for periods of time out of water and, according to legend, are capable of crossing land and damp meadows in their search for water systems.
The story was about fishermen harvesting juvenile eels in coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine and selling them for more than $2,500 a pound, mostly for unagi in Asian fish markets.
Different life stages of the eel have specific names: the transparent youngsters coming from the Atlantic Ocean towards the European coasts are called glass eel; in the growing phase, they are known as yellow eel (though they are brownish/greenish); and when finally starting maturation and returning to the ocean, they are called silver eel (silvery belly, nearly black dorsal).
This is the preferred method for hooking up an eel, a.k.a.
Eels are using electricity like a venom, Catania says.
Spokeswoman Louise McWatt said: "There are eels living in waters in the area around Surf Snowdonia so we know they are in the vicinity.
Two Chinese nationals travelling from Madrid to Sofia have tried to smuggle the eels packed up into eight styrofoam containers and declared as food items, The National Customs Agency said in a statement on Thursday.
A growing concern among the Japanese is that the eel, which is an integral part of the country's diet, has been listed as endangered.
There are hundreds of original Filipino street food and they chose to show an esoteric eel dish and a goddamn chinese fried vegetable lumpia!
Part of the eel's problem stems from poaching of the little eels that ascend New England rivers, especially in Maine.
American eel are facultative catadromous species that have a life cycle that encompasses thousands of kilometers to complete (USFWS, 2011a).
Madrid, Jumada I 24, 1439, Feb 10, 2018, SPA -- Spanish police say they have confiscated 310 kilos (683 pounds) of young eels that were about to be smuggled out of the country and shipped to Asia.