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informal To be highly dubious or suspicious; to seem not to be aboveboard. I don't know if you should buy the car. The guy selling it was being really fishy the whole time. Don't you think it's a little fishy how eager he is to be in charge of the accounts?
See also: fishy
informal Highly dubious or suspicious; seeming to not be aboveboard. I don't know if you should sign that contract, it seems a bit fishy to me. Don't you think it's a little fishy how eager he is to be in charge of the accounts?
fishy about the gills
Hung-over. A: "How are you feeling after your night of partying?" B: "Ugh, fishy about the gills—I've been throwing up all morning!"
An explanation that seems highly dubious or suspicious. He gave me some fishy story about being with a friend from out of town, but I think he's really having an affair. Tell me where the money is, and don't give me any fishy stories!
To seem suspicious of being improper, untoward, or duplicitous. A: "Their numbers don't match up with the taxes they've paid." B: "Hmm, something smells fishy." He thought Janet's response seemed a bit fishy, so he did a bit of investigation into her role in the company.
To seem suspicious of being improper, untoward, or duplicitous. A: "Their numbers don't match up with the taxes they've paid." B: "Hmm, that sounds fishy." He thought Janet's response sounded a bit fishy, so he did a bit of investigation into her role in the company.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
to seem suspicious. Barlowe squinted a bit. Something smells fishy here, he thought. something about the deal smelled fishy—too good to be true.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Be suspect or suspicious, as in His explanation definitely smells fishy; my guess is that he's lying. This idiom alludes to the fact that fresh fish have no odor but stale or rotten ones do. [Early 1800s]
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.
mod. dubious; questionable; likely to be improper or illegal. (see also smell fishy.) That was a pretty fishy story you told us.
in. to seem suspicious. (see also fishy.) Marlowe squinted a bit. Something smells fishy here, he thought.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
smell fishy, to
To be suspect. This term, which refers to the fact that fresh fish do not smell but stale or rotten ones do, has been around since the early nineteenth century. J. G. Holland explained it explicitly (Everyday Topics, 1876): “Fish is good, but fishy is always bad.” The metaphor turns up in James Payn’s Confidential Agent (1880): “His French is very fishy.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer