fishing


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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

fish for compliments

To attempt to elicit praise from someone, typically by saying negative things about oneself. We know you're a smart kind, Dan. You don't need to fish for compliments by talking about the one C you got. Tara's always fishing for compliments by talking about how she couldn't get her hair the way she wanted it.
See also: compliment, fish

fish around

1. To grope around for something with one's hands. I'm fishing around under the couch, but I don't think your phone is down here, Mom!
2. To pursue something indirectly, often compliments, as by saying negative things about oneself. Quit fishing around for compliments—we all liked your performance, OK?
See also: around, fish

fish in troubled waters

To try to capitalize on or benefit from a situation, circumstance, or experience that is fraught with disorder, difficulty, confusion, stress, etc. No one really thought about the money lenders who were making cash hand over fist during the recession, fishing in the troubled waters many homeowners and small businesses found themselves in.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fish out

1. To find and retrieve something. It took me a minute to fish my keys out of my bag.
2. To be completely empty of fish, as of a body of water where fishing is common. We won't catch anything here if it's already fished out.
See also: fish, out

bottom fishing

In pursuit of something at the lowest possible price, even if the quality is compromised as a result. I know you want to go bottom fishing, but make sure you're ultimately still getting a good product.
See also: bottom, fishing

fish up

To yank or pluck something up out of something else (likened to catching a fish on a fishing line). A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "up." It took me a minute to fish my keys up out of my bag. I reached into the tank and fished up a large lobster.
See also: fish, up

fish up out of (something)

To yank or pluck something up out of something else (likened to catching a fish on a fishing line). A noun or pronoun can be used between "fish" and "up." It took me a minute to fish my keys up out of my bag. I reached in and fished a large lobster up out of the tank.
See also: fish, of, out, up

fish in troubled waters

Fig. to involve oneself in a difficult, confused, or dangerous situation, especially with a view to gaining an advantage. Frank is fishing in troubled waters by buying more shares of that company. They are supposed to be in financial difficulties. The company could make more money by selling armaments abroad, but they would be fishing in troubled waters.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fishing expedition

a search for information without knowledge of whether such information exists. (This involves asking questions with no preconceived notion of what the answers might reveal.) The lawyer was on a fishing expedition. There was no real wrong committed to justify a lawsuit. Your honor, the prosecutor is just on a clumsy fishing expedition. I move for dismissal. We are going to have to go on a fishing expedition to try to find the facts.
See also: expedition, fishing

fishing expedition

An attempt to find useful information by asking questions at random. For example, The sales force was told to go on a fishing expedition to find out what they could about the company's competitors . This expression was taken up by lawyers to describe interrogating an adversary in hopes of finding relevant evidence and is now used more broadly still. [c. 1930]
See also: expedition, fishing

fish in troubled waters

Try to take advantage of a confused situation. For example, He often buys up stock in companies declaring bankruptcy; fishing in troubled waters generally pays off . This term, first recorded in 1568, expresses the even older notion that fish bite more readily when seas are rough.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fish out

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.
See also: fish, out

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

fish in troubled waters

If you fish in troubled waters, you try to get an advantage by getting involved in someone else's problems. We must be careful not to appear to be fishing in troubled waters.
See also: fish, trouble, water

fish in troubled waters

make a profit out of trouble or upheaval.
See also: fish, trouble, water

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

fish for compliments

encourage somebody indirectly to say nice things about you: Stop asking me if you look OK. You’re just fishing for compliments.
See also: compliment, fish

fish around

v.
To seek within some place by or as if by probing: She was fishing around in her pocket for a quarter. He fished around for compliments after the meeting.
See also: around, fish

bottom fishing

n. seeking something at its lowest price; seeking something at a low cost and willing to accept inferior quality. I don’t think bottom fishing for stocks is always wise. There is always a good reason why the price is low.
See also: bottom, fishing

fishing expedition

n. an exploratory search for facts. (This involves asking questions with no preconceived notion of what the answers might reveal.) The lawyer was on a fishing expedition. There was no real wrong committed to justify a lawsuit.
See also: expedition, fishing
References in periodicals archive ?
Karachi and Mekran are being the most important fishing ports.
Those heads of households stating fishing as being their primary occupation were classified as fishing households.
In all the recent discussion about commercial fishing, we note the absence of any reference to the importance of vessel design itself in terms of sustainability.
YEAH!, which requires a one-year commitment, equips youth with the scientific knowledge to link aquatic environmental hazards to subsistence fishing and fish consumption.
Currently the salmon fishing in Lake Michigan is great because the alewife population has again plummeted and the fish are so hungry they will bite on just about anything.
came down here in the early days to fish," says Chucky Van Wormer, whose family owns the Hotel Palmas de Cortez and two others on the East Cape of Baja and who runs one of the largest fleets of fishing boats in the country.
Tanaka explains that in Japan, even fishing is an art, and the real fishermen, who supply a handful of top sushi chefs in New York, pull up their fish one by one.
Nonetheless, Arnold finds the notion of fishing as a symbolic link between himself and Jesus just too appealing to forgo; and he keeps returning to it.
For professional and recreational anglers, understanding the predator-prey relationship is an essential aspect of any successful fishing trip.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the dynamics of water pollution changed yet again as society grew increasingly concerned with water quality for recreation, including swimming and fishing, and aesthetics.
Nowadays, Alabama's charter fishing boat captains and some local community groups buy and deploy specially designed concrete artificial reefs.
Finding a staff person willing to take the helm of Old Green, let alone direct the fishing program, wasn't easy.
Today, two thousand years later, Lurie is still at it, wandering the planet, tackle in hand, fishing for the fiercest game in the seven seas, from man-eating sharks to submarine-eating giant calamari.
Some 750 million pounds of this so-called by-catch are wasted each year on the North Pacific fishing grounds alone.
"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."