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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.
See also: 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: 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: 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: by, eel, skin, tail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: eel, slippery
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
He weighted in 11 smooth hounds, a conger eel and a codling for 33.17kg taking home PS100, donated by angling veteran Jeff Stephens.
'Swamp eels are light orange like some poisonous snakes,' they added.
"Two eels were taken to a local aquarium so that they could be put into water right away," she said.
The 5lb 10oz eel was discovered by workers from the Canal & River Trust charity, after nearly 200lbs of fish were rescued from the Ridgacre Branch Canal, near Carters Green.
That's a clue that may help point scientists toward finally finding exactly where adult eels go to spawn.
The Long-finned eel is a little known and seldom caught fish in Zimbabwe waters.
'Report of the Joint EIFAAC/ICES Working Group on Eels (WGEEL), 3-9 September 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark'.
Reading up on the American eel, I found that they are pretty interesting.
The muscle that works as an electricity-generating organ in the eel has just two power levels: on or off.
Eels are known to cross short distances of land between water sources but Surf Snowdonia believe the most likely explanation would be that they entered the water in a holding bay between the hydro-electric plant and the lagoon.
After a number of phone calls to different organisations, the Environment Agency gave permission for staff at the plant, operated by px limited, to return eels and fish - believed to be freshwater dace - into the River Tees.
Customs officers at Sofia International Airport have thwarted an attempt to smuggle into Bulgaria two million European baby eels, a critically endangered species.
To meet the huge domestic demand of this product, Japan buys 70 percent of the eels captured in the world.
Having delicious eels at the Mandarin Westboro's sushi bar last week brought back many good memories.