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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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.