fish for

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fish for something

1. Lit. to try to catch a particular kind of fish. We are fishing for cod today, but we'll take whatever we get. We will fish for perch from the riverbank.
2. Fig. to seek some kind of information. You could tell the lawyer was fishing for something from the vague way she asked the questions. The telephone caller was fishing for too much information, so I hung up.
See also: fish, for
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

fish for

1. Try to obtain something through artifice or indirectly. For example, He was always fishing for compliments, or, as William Makepeace Thackeray put it in Vanity Fair (1848): "The first woman who fishes for him, hooks him." [Mid-1500s]
2. Search for something, as in I've fished for it in all the drawers. [First half of 1700s]
See also: fish, for
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 for

To seek something by or as if by probing: I fished for my blue socks in the top drawer of the dresser. Instead of just fishing for compliments, you should try to get constructive criticism.
See also: fish, for
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
First was Greg Norris with 4 fish for 13 lb 4 1/2oz, which included the HSF of 7lb 151/2oz from The Haven.
Researchers tested children of women who ate at least four pounds a year of PCB-contaminated Lake Michigan fish for six years before thev gave birth.
If the catch is kingfish, shark, white croaker, sturgeon, or perch, it's a safe bet it was hauled from the bay by a low-income person of color who is planning on fish for dinner.
In 1986 the FDA inspected six pounds of fish for every million pounds eaten.
AMBLE SAC: First was Ian Harrogate with five fish for 8lb 2oz.
These prepacked meals sustain young fish for their first few days in the water.
Worldwide, about 1 billion people rely on fish for at least 30% of their animal protein, according to the FAO.
SEAHAM SAC BADGER OPEN (25 rods, 12 weighing in 26 fish for a total of 22.07lb): 1 R Carr (lesser spotted dogfish of 2.40lb), 2 J Ritchie (LSD of 2.39lb), 3 S Dickinson (coalfish of 2.01lb).
However, the area immediately downstream of the dam site had reduced populations of river fish for up to 3 years after dam removal--presumably from the effects of released sediment, Hart says.
Evaluation of tests with early life-stages of fish for predicting long term toxicity.
AMBLE SAC Summer Open Shore Competition (75 rods, 25 weighed in 58 fish for a total of 137lb 13.5oz): 1 Jimmy Dunn (five fish, 13lb 2.25oz), 2 Colin Bell (three fish, 11lb 0.5oz), 3 Chris Potts (six fish, 10lb 3oz).
At the same time, coastal populations of people who rely on fish for their protein are burgeoning around the globe, says Lester R.
Inc HSF 6lb 10oz), 2 Tony Cook (two fish 4lb 5oz), 3 Craig Falkous (one fish 2lb 3oz), 4 Gav Lockey (one fish for 1lb 1.5oz).
As for biologists, they prize the fish for having the smallest known genome among vertebrates.
First was Ian Hodgkinson (seven fish for 5lb 2oz), second Ray Longstaff (seven fish for 4lb 6oz), and third Andrew Hodgkinson (one fish for 2lb 1oz).